Sunday, May 5, 2019

Four books that shaped Carmel Reilly's love of literature

Carmel Reilly writes for children and adults. She has worked as an educational writer for almost two decades and is the author of more than 300 titles of fiction and non-fiction for children and young teens. In 2011 she won the Partners in Crime Short Story award and in 2016 she was awarded a Varuna Residental Fellowship to develop her first novel, Life Before. Born in New Zealand, she now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

At the Sydney Morning Herald she tagged four of the books that shaped her love of literature, including:
As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner

Reading the eccentric tale of a poor, rural Mississippi family attempting to transport their dead mother’s body to her birthplace for burial was a revelation to me at 18. Told from multiple perspectives, in extraordinary language that ranges from the vernacular to the literary, the book moves between the minds of 15 different characters. It opened my eyes to how one story could be broken into many stories utilising a range of voices and perspectives.
Read about the other entries on the list.

As I Lay Dying is on a list of four books that changed Elizabeth J. Church, Jesmyn Ward's list of six favorite books featuring absent parents, Emily Ruskovich's top ten list of rural American novels, Jeff Somers's top five list of books written in very unlikely places, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Nicole Hill's lists of nine of the biggest martyrs in fiction and five books that, like country and western songs, tell "stories of agony and ecstasy, soaring highs and mighty powerful lows, heartache and hard living," Laura Frost's list of the ten best modernist books (in English), Helen Humphreys's top ten list of books on grieving, John Mullan's list of ten of the best teeth in literature, Jon McGregor's list of the top ten dead bodies in literature, Roy Blount Jr.'s list of five favorite books of Southern humor, and James Franco's six best books list.

The “My mother is a fish.” chapter in As I Lay Dying is among the ten most notorious parts of famous books according to Gabe Habash.

--Marshal Zeringue