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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Life in an English village - it might not be quite as you think.








A Village Affair
Anthony Horowitz speaking in the Daily Mail
A Village Affair courtesy of Random House

'There is nowhere more evil than an English village,' Anthony Horowitz told a packed audience in Gloucestershire this week.  'It breeds mistrust, suspicion and bitterness.'

Speaking at Cheltenham Literary Festival, the Midsomer Murders screenwriter added: 'I live in Norfolk so I should know.'

Mr Horowitz, who adapted the well-known novels by Caroline Graham for television, said cities weren't a suitable base for the genre.

Attributing the above quote to Sherlock Holmes, the writer said: English villages are special places where hatred and mistrust and suspicion and anger and bitterness have a natural place to grow. In a city, in London, your feelings get dissipated, it's too loud, there are too many people, life is too fast. In an English village it can all fester slowly.'

Hardly surprising that these thoughts come from the man who made small-time murder mysteries fashionable, but the truth is that English villages have  held fascination for writers through the centuries.

One novel that has stood the test of time is Joanne Trollope's A Village Affair - a wonderful observation  of human frailty with characters we can all recognise.

Another of my favourites is Lark Rise to Candleford, Laura Thompson's semi-autobiographical trilogy that transferred so well to the small screen.

Perhaps one of the best-loved chroniclers of British life was Rebecca Shaw who died in 2015 having sold a million copies of her novel The Village Green Affair and many others inspired by her   life in a small Dorset village.

Do you have a favourite novel about village life?


2 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

Hello Marilyn, I’ve read several village stories by Miss Read but can only remember the name of the first one which was Thrush Green (I think). I also love James Herriot and have read several of his.
I lived in Dorset prior to moving to Somerset and always promised myself I would read Rebecca Shaw’s Turnham Malpas books but I’ve still not done so, thank you for the reminder.

Guernsey Girl said...

Hi Barbara - I once had a friend who moved from Lancashire to Blandford Forum in Dorset and bought the most wonderful 200-year-old cottage. It really was like a painting from the past. Looking back, it would have been the perfect setting for a historical novel.