WHAT BOOK would author Victoria Hislop take to a desert island?

WHAT BOOK would author Victoria Hislop take to a desert island?

  • Victoria Hislop is currently reading Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  • Author would take War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy to a desert island
  • She revealed I Am David by Anne Holm first gave her the reading bug 

…are you reading now?

Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s strangely disturbing, I must confess. I didn’t expect that. The voice of the Artificial Friend (AF) Klara is very real and in a totally different ‘register’ to the way any human being talks (but in a convincing way).

It’s really getting under my skin. For me it’s a great companion piece with Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me, which also dived into the subject of artificial intelligence, but from a different angle.

What is it to be human? Both of these great writers help us to explore this question — but leave ambiguity over the answer.

Victoria Hislop (pictured) is currently reading Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

…would you take to a desert island?

War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I read it last year and the moment I finished I wanted to start all over again. It is so rich with characters, stories, history, emotion, intellectual ideas — it lacks nothing.

It is the longest, but also the best, book I have ever read and I am eager to have time to re-read it.

And if I were going to a desert island, I would need a book I could rely on — rather than take a risk with one that I had never picked up before!

…first gave you the reading bug?

A children’s book from when I was around ten, I Am David by Anne Holm. I have re-read it in recent years and it still moves me. It’s about a 12-year-old boy who escapes from a concentration camp and travels alone across Europe, experiencing the world for the very first time. I think it’s a great skill to evoke such sympathy in less than 200 pages.

Victoria said I Am David by Anne Holm (pictured) first gave her the reading bug

David encounters all kinds of things that are normal to us, but for him (having lived in the camp his whole life) they are extraordinary.

The description of his first encounter with soap is memorable.

It is very powerful and tender — just as much for adults as for children. After that, I wanted to read anything and everything.

…left you cold?

Emma by Jane Austen — the insularity of their lives (despite the clever dialogues) just made me want to scream. I sometimes upset people when I say that I don’t like reading Jane Austen — but I think it’s a world that would have driven me mad, so I don’t even want to enter it on an imaginary level.

Victoria Hislop’s new children’s book Maria’s Island, illustrated by Gill Smith, is out now from Walker Books at £10.99.

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