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  2. Sebastian Shakespeare
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Notify me. Description Tokyo, While Japan's war against China escalates, young Yuji Takano clings to his cocooned life: his beloved evenings of French conversation at Monsieur Feneon's, visits to the bathhouse with friends, his books, his poetry. But conscription looms and the mood turns against foreigners, just when Yuji gets entangled with Feneon's daughter. As the nation heads towards conflict with the Allies, Yuji must decide where his duty - and his heart - lie. About Andrew Miller Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer.

Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries.


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Born in Bristol in , he currently lives in Somerset. Rating details.

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Everyone would start again unburdened by History. A few years after the disappearance of Les Innocents the Revolutionary government set the hands of Time to zero. Jean-Baptiste Baratte's lodgings with the Monnards are very meagre compared to the opulent echelon of society to which he has been introduced. Does this illustrate how unbridgeable the gap between rich and poor was at the time? Jean-Baptiste has already risen above his class origins by virtue of his education and training.

But no-one, including the family he lodges, with are going to mistake him for anyone of real importance. He has neither wealth nor blood. The suit Baratte has made when he begins his work in Paris is of an extravagant and modern design. Does this choice mark his own feelings at the time of his rise in society or would is simply have been expected of a man his position?

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The suit is modern. Jean-Baptiste very much wishes to be thought of as modern. But, of course, the suit never quite suits him! Baratte is given to reading Buffon's ground-breaking Histoire naturelle during quiet evenings.


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Is this symbolic of a France keen embrace fresh ideas? Jean-Baptiste is an assiduous and self-conscious consumer of the new thinking. For him, however, it is a fairly lonely exercise. He is not a clubbable man. Baratte's friend from the mines, Lecouer, doesn't seem to adapt to city life as well.

Are this perhaps symbolic of revolutionary and traditional France in opposition? Le Coeur is my attempt at a portrait of a good hearted man who, one night, becomes a kind of monster and knows it. He is a little like Jean-Baptiste a very lonely man.

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The miners who accompany Lecouer to help with the work at Les Innocents are Flemish speakers. There had been incidents of strikes by miners in Flemish-speaking areas in the previous decade. Do you think they would have brought any kind of political awareness with them? The miners are working men with their own traditions and mysteries.

They are loyal only to themselves. They are kin perhaps to the English Luddites whose th anniversary has just passed. Is there any historical significance to 'Beche', the name given to Baratte by other members of the nascent revolution? Beche is French for spade. Each of the 'conspirators' is named after some personal or professional attribute. The places and times in which you've set your six novels have all been very different. Do they have anything in common in terms of why you've felt drawn to write about them?

Feel certain there must be an answer to this but am not quite sure what it is. I write about people trying to find some way to go on, meaningfully, with their lives. I suppose I'm interested in why any of us should get up in the morning.

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BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime, One Morning Like A Bird, Episode 9

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Andrew Miller