Six disheveled characters drift into a blank white space. They do not know exactly where they are, they do not know exactly where they are going and if they are looking for anything, it is for an author.
No, this isn’t another interminable minimalist production of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author; it is instead the emotive scene with which Fjona’s Uu’s great modern novel Lava in a Cold Climate opens. The blank white space is not a theatre; it is the icy landscape near Murmansk in Northern Russia. And the characters, for all their confusion, do at least know their names. They are Matthew, Cedric, Bertie, Madeleine, Celia and Eddy.
Such names invoke not only a distinct geographical location, but also an erstwhile epoch. What are people with such quaint monikers doing tramping along the shores of the Artic Ocean in the twenty-first century? They are indubitably displaced, wrenched from their familiar surroundings; not only to our, but also to their, surprise.
The truth is this: in a move not unknown in the history of European Literature, Fjona Uu has declined to personally concoct the characters with which she populates her narrative. Either she draws them directly from life, or she pulls them (kicking and screaming in this case) out of other books. In this case, she has stolen characters from three other writers Read the rest of this entry »