Gransnet forums

Books/book club

August book club - The Silk Merchant's Daughter

(73 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 10-Aug-16 13:55:37

Apologies - the books have been a bit late going out so we will give winners a bit longer to read and add questions and comments to this thread. They should arrive in the next couple of days so if you get one don't forget to add your thoughts here as soon as you have read it.

More info on the book here

chelseababy Wed 10-Aug-16 19:16:49

Oh well still in with a chance then!

chelseababy Tue 16-Aug-16 06:36:07

Anyone received one yet?

Greenfinch Tue 16-Aug-16 06:42:00

No. Still living in hope!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 17-Aug-16 09:40:29

I'm assured they are on their way. Don't forget, if you do receive one, make sure you leave your comments and questions for Dinah on this thread as soon as you've read it. Obviously we will allow a couple of extra weeks so if you can add by mid September rather than the end of August that's fine.

Maggiemaybe Sat 20-Aug-16 14:31:58

Dare I ask whether anyone's received their copy yet?

Waveney Sat 20-Aug-16 17:06:09

I was wondering that too!

Gagagran Tue 23-Aug-16 13:19:21

Doesn't look like we are going to get these methinks! Maybe the publisher's post clerk is on holiday?

Jane10 Tue 23-Aug-16 13:32:15

I didn't like the book anyway. I very rarely give up on a book but I did with this one.

gillyknits Sat 27-Aug-16 10:38:16

My copy arrived this morning.Hurray! Thank you very much. I shall endeavour to read it as soon as I can and post a review.

Maggiemaybe Sat 27-Aug-16 13:57:37

Oh! There's hope yet then smile

Gagagran Tue 30-Aug-16 12:31:06

Good news! Just had a copy delivered by our postie. Thank you GN. I will post a review asap.

chelseababy Tue 30-Aug-16 17:12:19

Came in from work hoping there might be a book on the doormat.......but no such luck! Doesn't look like many have been received so far.

harrigran Tue 30-Aug-16 17:38:13

I must say the books have been very poor these last few months, I have always been an avid reader but have had to make an effort with the choices 😔

Frannygranny Wed 31-Aug-16 10:03:29

Just received my copy this morning. I'll read it as soon as possible.. Thanks.

angie95 Wed 31-Aug-16 11:11:20

Just received my copy this morning, perfect timing, as just finished a book. Thanks for my copy x

ecci53 Wed 31-Aug-16 13:19:51

Finally received my copy today, just in time for the end of August!!

chelseababy Wed 31-Aug-16 13:21:02

Mine was waiting over the side gate for me! Couldn't believe the size of the packaging! No wonder it wouldn't go through letter box. It's still August.....just!

Roxannediane Wed 31-Aug-16 15:48:58

Just had mine delivered.... Thank you so much gransnet - can't wait to go to bed tonight and start reading.... !

cde58 Wed 31-Aug-16 16:02:16

Just received my copy - many thanks. As somebody else said - ridiculous sized packaging for a fairly small book. Have another book to finish, a house move to undertake and new grandchild due any day - but when all that's sorted I'll start the book! Fortuitous as my son is working for a year in Vietnam so hoping to visit in next few months.

Grannie48 Wed 31-Aug-16 18:07:54

Many thanks for my copy, which came today. Will read it as soon as I've finished the book I am reading.

Claudiaclaws Wed 31-Aug-16 19:42:04

I have already read this. I really enjoyed it. I wish I was just about to start reading it again.

Maggiemaybe Wed 31-Aug-16 21:52:28

Mine was sitting on my front doorstep when I got home smile Many thanks, I'm looking forward to starting it.

cornergran Wed 31-Aug-16 23:07:02

Mine came today thank you. Will read as soon as the current book is finished.

halfgran Wed 31-Aug-16 23:46:37

My copy also arrived today thank you, will have to wait a few days until my company has left to start reading it.

mischief Thu 01-Sep-16 08:04:16

Received my copy this morning thank you. Going away soon so it will be my holiday read.

mischief Thu 01-Sep-16 08:11:48

As someone else has mentioned the packaging - I was out when the postman tried to deliver (yesterday) and as it was too big to go through my letter box I had to make a trip to the sorting office this morning to pick it up. I have an especially large letter box and was amazed it wouldn't go through. Yes, far too big for the size of the book.

Indinana Thu 01-Sep-16 10:09:38

Well I've received this book today and the daft thing is I don't even remember applying for a copy! I've only applied for the book club book a handful of times and never been successful before. I must have done this on auto-pilot wink. Thank you so much! I shall look forward to reading it.
(The packaging wasn't oversized at all - easily fitted through my letterbox hmm)

philatel Thu 01-Sep-16 13:30:22

My copy only arrived yesterday - have started reading it and loving it.

Miriam Thu 01-Sep-16 16:15:53

Just collected my copy from the sorting office today and started to read it at lunch time. Enjoying it already. Will be back with comments and any questions as soon as I have finished. Many thanks for the book.

Worlass Thu 01-Sep-16 17:59:39

Like Indinana, received a copy yesterday, but no idea I had won it. I presume it is from Gransnet, as can't think where else it could be from. I look forward to getting started reading in the next day or so, when I finish my current reading matter. Thanks Gransnet.

Gagagran Sun 04-Sep-16 06:33:59

I've struggled to finish this book after a flying start thinking it would be very interesting given the setting. Well it was interesting in that I knew very little about the French role in Vietnam and it gave me the historical background to the struggles there in the 1960s.

However, I found that the writing did not flow and the plot jumped around rather jerkily. I almost felt that I was reading a translation from an original by someone whose first language wasn't English.

So I would not recommend this book. Sorry.

Purpledaffodil Sun 04-Sep-16 10:26:10

Got mine on Friday 2nd September. Bit tricky to read by the end of August, so pleased there is an extension.

sweetpea Sun 04-Sep-16 11:03:02

Arrived home from holiday yesterday to be given a large package by my neighbour who had taken it in, away again on Tuesday, intending to take and read while travelling. Will send comments in my return. Thank you for the book!

gillyknits Sun 04-Sep-16 15:12:59

I enjoyed reading this book even though I hadn't expected to as I usually read thrillers. I did not know much about Vietnamese history before the American involvement and found this aspect of the book enjoyable.
Spoiler Alert!
The story line reminded me very much of 'Miss Saigon'. Vietnamese girl meets American etc. but differed in that the girl in the story was half French and struggled to work out where her loyalties lay (either with her French father or dead Vietnamese mother.)The descriptive passages really set the scenes although some of the brutality was a difficult read (even though it was necessary to the story.) The characters were well drawn, especially the sister Sylvie with her mental health problems.
I might read other books by this author and would recommend this one.

grandMattie Sun 04-Sep-16 16:50:18

The book arrived during the week and I have finished it. The story is not terribly exciting, a little Mills & Boon-ish, predictable love story with complications, and all comes good in the end.

what was very interesting was the background in Viet Nam. As a young woman, I remember seeing various veterans of Dien Ben Phu, spoken about in hushed tones, as one did for vets of Dunkirk. I knew the history was very checkered but hadn't realised quite how dreadful the colonisation had been. The French were not the most sympathetic colonists, and didn't cover themselves with glory in this particular episode, did they?

All in all, a nice little story, but with extremely interesting historical context.

Thank you

angie95 Mon 05-Sep-16 17:41:28

The Silk Merchant's Daughter , was so much more than the usual love story, Nicole is 19, half French and half Vietnamese, lives with her father, and under the shadow of her elder sister Sylvie, who in their fathers eyes can do no wrong.
Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in Hanoi, while her sister is given what she has dreamed of, control of her fathers silk empire.
At a ball, Nicole meets Mark, a silk trader, and looses her heart to him, but she also has feelings for Tran, a Vietnamese insurgent, and it isn't long before these worlds collide and Nicole finds out about her family's dark past,,,

angie95 Mon 05-Sep-16 17:43:13

Hi Carigransnet, I have posted a review of the wonderful Silk Merchant's Daughter,
Thanks so much, I really enjoyed it

cornergran Mon 05-Sep-16 20:57:15

I really enjoyed this book, finished it this morning. The layers woven into the story were fascinating. The issues of mixed race, mental health, scapegoating as a family dynamic, inaccurate family assumptions and stories, cultural issues, power and oppression, historical accuracy clarifying the reality of life in Vietnam all woven into what is intrinsically a love story. I found it easy to read, other than the very graphic descriptions of violence which reminded me that there is still violence between different cultures and that power inequalities still result in oppression. Thank you Gransnet, I probably wouldn't have picked this off a shelf which would have been my loss.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 06-Sep-16 15:56:36

Appreciate people have only just got their copies but just to say please leave thoughts and questions for Dinah here as soon as you can - we will send them off to her at the end of the month

bookcorner Tue 06-Sep-16 15:58:09

Thank you for my copy - thoroughly enjoyed it and now want to go to Vietnam. I would like to ask Dinah how much time she spent there researching the book?

worrier Tue 06-Sep-16 16:48:46

Hi. I received my book earlier this week, so comments will follow. This was a lovely surprise as I rarely win anything. Thank you grans net.

jakekatymax Tue 06-Sep-16 16:58:28

I loved this book so thank you for sending me a copy. I have also read The Tea Planter's Wife by DInah Jefferies and would like to ask her how she comes up with these exotic stories (or is it a good excuse to travel to far flung places?)

Grannyjacq1 Tue 06-Sep-16 17:23:49

Received my copy when I returned back from a week away today - along with a copy of 'The Ballroom' - which I think is the Sept book club book! Better get reading!

halfgran Tue 06-Sep-16 20:09:58

Have just finished this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was eye opening to learn about the brutality of colonisation and more of the history of Vietnam.Having been to Hanoi several times on holiday the descriptive passages brought back lovely memories and had me longing for a return holiday there. Also wondering if Dinah has plans for a follow up of Sylvie's story(from her journal)or of Mark, Nicole and Celeste''s life in America.

jammy388 Thu 08-Sep-16 19:07:09

Many thanks for a thought provoking read. I thought the description of the setting was very convincing and I was interested to learn about the historical events, but I felt distanced from the characters and for me the story and dialogue, especially in the earlier part of the book, didn't flow well. I also found the juxtaposition of violence and romance sat uneasily with me.

Annie29 Thu 08-Sep-16 23:02:43

I got my copy on the Monday,will try and read it ASAP
Thank you

Molly10 Fri 09-Sep-16 12:28:40

I really enjoyed this book. Dinah's descriptive writing is spot on. The introduction and development of characters moved at a good pace. I did expect the blond soldier, Andre, to have a bigger part and kept waiting for that along with the supposed blind man who brought the oar (did he fall in to the lake when he gave it to them, lol). Seriously though she did bring to life the uncertainty and feeling of being watched.
I liked at the end of the book after the epilogue that Dinah gave some insight into her writing and a few of my questions were answered throughout.

Could Dinah give us more information on her writing eg How long does it takes to write her books? Does she find she goes off on lots of tangents along the way developing new characters or are the main characters there from the start? Has Dinah always kept a journal herself?

I have already passed this book on to a friend who I'm sure will enjoy it. I will definitely read Dinah's books again and I am looking forward to reading the Tea Planter's Wife.

I'm also inspired by her positivity after financial set backs before her writing journey. Well done.

worrier Fri 09-Sep-16 16:43:43

I have just finished The Silk Merchant's Daughter, August book, and really enjoyed it.

The book was clearly well researched and gave a good insight into the background of the Vietnam war, clearly showing faults on both sides, woven into a super story.
The setting was so well described, it was easy to picture the turbulent times of Indo China and the characters seemed right for that time.

Most importantly, it was a really good way to spend two wet days!

GandT Sat 10-Sep-16 14:04:49

I really enjoyed this book. The addition of a relevant timeline and map was very useful and is often overlooked by authors. The description of Nicole's houses invites you to seek out what a pipal tree and native flowers etc look like, and seek images of the Perfume River. The story through Nicole's eyes and experiences of how ordinary people's lives were changed over just quite a short period of time is hard for us to comprehend. I thought the two sides to this was cleverly told through the two sisters.

Grannyjacq1 Sun 11-Sep-16 17:27:25

Having spent several years in Malaysia myself as a child, I was thrilled to receive a copy of this novel, as I haven't read any books by Dinah Jefferies before. I found the historical background of the setting fascinating and the history of Vietnam timeline at the beginning was an excellent idea to inform or remind the reader and help them to get the most from the novel. The concept of a mixed race - French/Vietnamese - main character was an original idea and one which I am sure many can identify with. I particularly enjoyed the way in which Dinah Jefferies evoked the atmosphere of the Far East, and the terrible experiences that many had in Vietnam in the 1950s. I found it very engaging as a whole novel and felt compelled to keep reading it. The fact that Jefferies shows us the faults on both sides helped to give a balanced picture of the time politically, I think, and how ordinary people were unwittingly caught up in the turmoil.
Although I enjoyed the novel, and certainly want to read more novels by DJ - including 'The Tea Planter's Wife'_ I felt that the quality of the writing was a little uneven - one draft short of a finished novel, perhaps, making Dinah Jefferies a good rather than a great novelist at this stage. Not all the characters were consistently convincing, and I wanted to know more about Sylvie's friend Andre, who just seemed to disappear.
I'm sure that Jefferies researched the novel thoroughly, but at times I felt as if she was describing a later period than the early 1950s. For example, the references to Sylvie using tissues to remove make up, and the reference to 'split ends' in hair - though with Sylvie having spent time in America, perhaps these references are plausible? There were some deliberate references to, for example, songs from the 1950s, but I just felt that a later period was being evoked.
I think the notes at the end describing how Jefferies researched the novel were extremely interesting and these answered many of my questions. Looking back, I seem to have been quite critical; I would like to end by emphasising how much I enjoyed reading the novel as a whole: Nicole was an engaging character and I came away with an enhanced understanding of this extremely complex time in the history of Vietnam. Thank you for sending me the copy, Gransnet!

Worlass Tue 13-Sep-16 11:48:18

Thank you Dinah Jefferies for a thought-provoking read in 'The Silk Merchant's Daughter'. As previous posters have said, the timeline at the beginning helped to enlighten the reader. On a recent holiday to Vietnam, I became aware of some of this historic context and was delighted to be reminded of it through the pages of this book. Although I have never lived in Asia, I have lived in several countries in Africa in the aftermath of Colonial rule, including Zambia and Zaire. I feel strongly that all Colonialists leave their mark, but some leave a far more positive legacy behind, such as infrastructure and schools. What are the author's thoughts on this? Thanks Gransnet for the opportunity to read something which is not within my usual genre of reading matter.

Miriam Wed 14-Sep-16 14:05:23

I really enjoyed the book and have passed it on to a friend who will enjoy it too. It opened my eyes to the history and I thought the characters were well drawn. My only criticism would be that it felt a bit rushed towards the end and the birth of the baby was skimmed over. No mention of the midwife coming or the cord being cut. Did they do that themselves! I would read more from Dinah

Annie29 Thu 15-Sep-16 10:16:12

I enjoyed this book and found the history of Vietnam intresting. I think I will read it again as I hurried to finish it in time.

path20 Thu 15-Sep-16 13:13:47

I borrowed my copy from the library, I really enjoyed it.

Purpledaffodil Thu 15-Sep-16 13:24:55

Unusually for me I struggled to finish this book. The characters were interesting and quite well drawn, but I found the plot very patchy and had to keep going back to check on detail eg her amazing singing ability. I agree with other posters who felt more editing would have improved it.

mischief Sat 17-Sep-16 13:49:30

Just finished The Silk Merchant's Daughter and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never been to the East but getting a flavour of part of the history of Vietnam was really interesting. The relationship between Sylvie and Nicole, though strained, was very interesting and reminded me of the relationship I have with my older sister, although she didn't try to drown me.......I don't think.wink

Anyway, loved the book and thank you again for sending me a copy.

Grannie48 Sat 17-Sep-16 18:26:46

I really enjoyed reading this book. I have read all the other reviews of it and don't think I can add anything, except to say that I have now bought The Tea Planter's Wife. Thanks again for sending me The Silk Merchant's Daughter.

Indinana Sun 18-Sep-16 10:00:34

This is a genre of books that I particularly enjoy - where the novel takes place amid the unfolding events of relatively recent history in another country or culture.
Dinah Jefferies immediately draws the reader in to the atmosphere in the days of the Indochina war in Vietnam. Born to a French father and a Vietnamese mother who died giving birth to her, Nicole is torn between her French heritage and her Vietnamese roots. She feels her life is lived in the shadow of her older sister, Sylvie, who favours her French father in her looks, while Nicole has inherited her Vietnamese mother's features. This is compounded by the fact that her father hands over complete control of his business empire to Sylvie, while Nicole receives only an abandoned and run down silk shop.
She falls for Mark, an American silk trader but is also drawn to Tran, a Vietnamese insurgent. Poor Nicole finds herself in the dangerous position of having to choose whether to be French or Vietnamese.
I really enjoyed this book. It had so much - the horrors of war, deception, sibling rivalry, with a love story running through it.
So well worth reading. Thanks again for the free copy.

Maggiemaybe Sun 18-Sep-16 10:40:06

I'm in the minority, but I found this book very hard work. The characterisation and relationships seemed shallow, the plot all over the place, and minor characters popped in and out, appeared and were dropped. It should have been a much shorter book, imho. I did, however, enjoy the way the background was drawn, both geographically and historically, and I think I learnt a lot about a time and place I was ignorant of.

Many thanks for the book - I'll be passing it to my DD1 who is travelling in this area soon, so I hope she'll enjoy it.

gardener Sat 24-Sep-16 14:42:34

To Gransnet and to Dinah....
Thanks very much for the book...I really enjoyed reading about a country I know very little about.
Dinah, You certainly know how to give the reader a true taste of life in Vietnam .
I listened to you talking on Radio 4 Saturday Live about all the various places you have lived.What an interesting life !!
You say you remember fondly your childhood in Malaya which makes you want to write about the East.
Do you think you will ever change your mind and choose an alternative setting ?
What about the years you spent living in a commune ?
Would there be a novel in there somewhere do you think ?
Am I right in thinking that you only started writing in your sixties ? Would it be intrusive to ask ..how did you spend your time before that ?
Thanks again for a great read.

ecci53 Sun 16-Oct-16 14:28:20

Just finished this book - it's taken me longer than usual to read due to a series of family crises - but I really liked it. I hadn't read anything by this author before, but I will now be looking for other books by her.
I didn't know anything about Vietnam before I read it, except bits I remembered from when I was a child about the war there, I think in the sixties.
I hadn't known it had been occupied by the French, and it was so interesting to find out what life was like there at that time.
I would recommend this book highly, in fact, I've suggested that my book club reads it.

Jalima Sun 16-Oct-16 14:41:33

Maggiemaybe I was lent this book by a friend and have just finished it.
I agree with you, in fact I nearly abandoned it when about a quarter of the way through because I found it superficial and the characters very thinly drawn.
Some of the historical points were interesting, but were related from one character to another as if they were facts being related to a foreigner - facts both should have known as they both lived had lived there all their lives and I had to check that this book was not a translation from a foreign language into English but then perhaps some of the background research may have been a translation.

Actually, you say you thought it should have been shorter - I thought as I was reading it that it should have been longer and given more depth. Some things that happened seemed to have no explanation or background - such as the sister's complete breakdown.

I did find 'poor Nicole' daft as a brush, making some very random decisions.

I will read the Tea Planter's Wife if my friend lends it to me, as it is supposed to be better than this book.

Jalima Sun 16-Oct-16 14:44:59

However, I found that the writing did not flow and the plot jumped around rather jerkily. I almost felt that I was reading a translation from an original by someone whose first language wasn't English.
I have just read your post Gagagran - that sums up what I thought too.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:14:19

bookcorner

Thank you for my copy - thoroughly enjoyed it and now want to go to Vietnam. I would like to ask Dinah how much time she spent there researching the book?

I spent about three months reading before then enjoying just a fortnight in Vietnam. We had a great time and I thoroughly recommend it as a place to visit. I wished I could have spent longer but it’s amazing how much you can learn in a short space of time if you know what you are looking for.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:31:38

jakekatymax

I loved this book so thank you for sending me a copy. I have also read The Tea Planter's Wife by DInah Jefferies and would like to ask her how she comes up with these exotic stories (or is it a good excuse to travel to far flung places?)

There is no answer to how I come up with the ideas. Something usually pops into my head once I start reading about the country in question, and then I just run with it until the final idea becomes clear. It is also rather fabulous to visit these destinations, though they are very different now to the time in which I set my books. So quite a lot of background research must happen so that I can be very focused while I’m away and able to keep an idea of how a place must have once been.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:32:24

halfgran

Have just finished this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was eye opening to learn about the brutality of colonisation and more of the history of Vietnam.Having been to Hanoi several times on holiday the descriptive passages brought back lovely memories and had me longing for a return holiday there. Also wondering if Dinah has plans for a follow up of Sylvie's story(from her journal)or of Mark, Nicole and Celeste''s life in America.

I’m glad you enjoyed the book but no, I currently have no plans to write a follow up of Sylvie’s story or any other aspect of the novel, although you never know - I might yet change my mind.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:33:09

Molly10

I really enjoyed this book. Dinah's descriptive writing is spot on. The introduction and development of characters moved at a good pace. I did expect the blond soldier, Andre, to have a bigger part and kept waiting for that along with the supposed blind man who brought the oar (did he fall in to the lake when he gave it to them, lol). Seriously though she did bring to life the uncertainty and feeling of being watched.
I liked at the end of the book after the epilogue that Dinah gave some insight into her writing and a few of my questions were answered throughout.

Could Dinah give us more information on her writing eg How long does it takes to write her books? Does she find she goes off on lots of tangents along the way developing new characters or are the main characters there from the start? Has Dinah always kept a journal herself?

I have already passed this book on to a friend who I'm sure will enjoy it. I will definitely read Dinah's books again and I am looking forward to reading the Tea Planter's Wife.

I'm also inspired by her positivity after financial set backs before her writing journey. Well done.

Thank you. In all it takes a year from starting a novel to its publication, although the writing part of that, including the editing, probably takes about nine months in all. Prior to starting I will have spent about three months researching as well as visiting the country. I usually write a pretty detailed synopsis and I try to then stick to that as I go along. And yes, the central characters are there from the start, though they tend to develop quite a bit further during the editing process. I haven’t always kept a journal myself but have done so from time to time. Hope that answers your question.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:33:39

Worlass

Thank you Dinah Jefferies for a thought-provoking read in 'The Silk Merchant's Daughter'. As previous posters have said, the timeline at the beginning helped to enlighten the reader. On a recent holiday to Vietnam, I became aware of some of this historic context and was delighted to be reminded of it through the pages of this book. Although I have never lived in Asia, I have lived in several countries in Africa in the aftermath of Colonial rule, including Zambia and Zaire. I feel strongly that all Colonialists leave their mark, but some leave a far more positive legacy behind, such as infrastructure and schools. What are the author's thoughts on this? Thanks Gransnet for the opportunity to read something which is not within my usual genre of reading matter.

Sorry to be brief but this is such a complex subject. I try not to allow my own thoughts on colonialism to intrude when I write as it is the characters’ own attitudes and opinions that I’m writing about. I grew up in Colonial Malaya and it left a lasting impression on me, good and bad, which is probably why I choose to write about it.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:34:20

gardener

To Gransnet and to Dinah....
Thanks very much for the book...I really enjoyed reading about a country I know very little about.
Dinah, You certainly know how to give the reader a true taste of life in Vietnam .
I listened to you talking on Radio 4 Saturday Live about all the various places you have lived.What an interesting life !!
You say you remember fondly your childhood in Malaya which makes you want to write about the East.
Do you think you will ever change your mind and choose an alternative setting ?
What about the years you spent living in a commune ?
Would there be a novel in there somewhere do you think ?
Am I right in thinking that you only started writing in your sixties ? Would it be intrusive to ask ..how did you spend your time before that ?
Thanks again for a great read.

Now there’s a thought! My new book which will be published in February is called ‘Before The Rains’ and it’s set in India - in Rajasthan, in fact, when it was known as Rajputana. The one after that will be in Ceylon again, so no plans at present to leave the East. I have an instinct to maybe go for Eastern Europe if the Far East becomes too far to travel.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:35:14

DinahJefferiesAuthor

gardener

To Gransnet and to Dinah....
Thanks very much for the book...I really enjoyed reading about a country I know very little about.
Dinah, You certainly know how to give the reader a true taste of life in Vietnam .
I listened to you talking on Radio 4 Saturday Live about all the various places you have lived.What an interesting life !!
You say you remember fondly your childhood in Malaya which makes you want to write about the East.
Do you think you will ever change your mind and choose an alternative setting ?
What about the years you spent living in a commune ?
Would there be a novel in there somewhere do you think ?
Am I right in thinking that you only started writing in your sixties ? Would it be intrusive to ask ..how did you spend your time before that ?
Thanks again for a great read.

Now there’s a thought! My new book which will be published in February is called ‘Before The Rains’ and it’s set in India - in Rajasthan, in fact, when it was known as Rajputana. The one after that will be in Ceylon again, so no plans at present to leave the East. I have an instinct to maybe go for Eastern Europe if the Far East becomes too far to travel.

To answer the rest

I have no plans for a novel set in a commune but it is certainly food for thought. It would be quite a different departure for me.

And I’ve done a lot of different things in my life but before starting to write I was a painter specialising in abstract landscapes. An injury to my shoulder made it hard to paint such large canvasses so I now paint with words instead. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do.

DinahJefferiesAuthor Mon 31-Oct-16 11:35:35

Thank you for reading and thank you for your questions.

ValC Tue 22-Nov-16 11:25:53

Sorry for the late post but didn't get chance to read this at the time. I have now read it and what a great book, I couldn't put it down. Really made you think about how other peoples lives are so different to your own.