Couldn’t resist that title - coined by my lovely friend Suzanne Rogers who hasn't read any of Joanne Trollope's books but got tickets for her in conversation with broadcaster/journalist Sinead Gleeson in the lovely Pavilion theatre in Dun Laoghaire and invited me along. The evening was part of DLR's Libraries Voices Series and Joanne was promoting her new novel The Soldiers Wife - I started it last night and am already hooked.
It was a joy to hear Joanne's modulated English voice read her work. It is a gentle, pragmatic and unassuming voice - much as I had always suspected it would be. Joanne Trollope has had seventeen books published, makes me wonder why I'm clapping myself on the back! Such dedication. I have read eight of those seventeen and her remaining books are on the bucket list. I think that like Mary Wesley and Anita Brookner Joanne has great clarity of vision into the mindset of middle-class Britain. Fascinating insight into that British reserve and in all the things not said as much as what's said. A fifth generation niece of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope,'the real Trollope' as she describes him, she grew up surrounded by books and I'd imagine has a strong sense of belonging in the world of British letters. She was a really lovely speaker - if you ever get the chance go to hear her.
Sinead Gleeson was relaxed with her and I felt as if I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two friends who hadn't seen each other for some time. They are both warm and funny women and very amusing about John Terry and FA soccer (Joannes's a Chelsea supporter). Joanne grew up with no television and had books as companions during long winter nights and equally long summer days. At the moment I'm torn between ranting about televison or religion as 'the opium of the people'. Both have been damaging to society - and helped in other ways - and both are of course driven by money, power and and in the case of television - greed. Except for Sesame Street. taht was a worthwhile show.I digress. As per.
On popular culture and the lure of immediate celeberity status I loved Joanne's comment about soccer's WAGs 'There is a price to pay for that title' she said. Indeed there is. And she wondered if when a footballers career is over due to injury or age and the ludicrously big amounts of money stop flowing what kind of adjustments had to be made in those relationships.
An interesting woman - would love to sit and natter with her for ages.
Maybe her next novel. I'll buy it!