Firstly I wish to thank Eve Wersocki of Midaspr for inviting me on this Blog tour for Water and Glass by Abi Curtis
Water & Glass by Abi Curtis is out now (£12.99, Cloud Lodge Books)
In the lower depths of a massive submarine, ship’s zoologist Nerissa Crane takes an ultrasound of a heavily pregnant Asian elephant. The elephant conceived off-ship but, it transpires, was forced on board – along with Nerissa and a hastily assembled collection of humans and animals – by an apocalyptic environmental disaster that has flooded the earth. Nerissa is calm and solitary in her work and in navigating the trauma of her husband’s presumed death in the floods; but when one of her animal charges escapes, she is reluctantly forced to enter the ship’s thrown-together communal world where she uncovers a shocking conspiracy that causes her to question who and what she is. Water & Glass is a thrilling dystopian tale about human nature – and the animal world – under great pressure and in enclosed spaces.
I AM DELIGHTED TO SHARE A GUEST POST FROM ABI, SO TAKE A LOOK AT WHO HER TOP 5 LITERARY INFLUENCES ARE
1. Margaret Atwood, specifically her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. I encountered this as a teenager and have always been impressed by the stripped-down prose, the strong protagonist and the detailed dystopian world. I think Water & Glass was influenced by the notion of a steely, but understated female main character, by the intensity of her lonely experience in a suddenly changed world. I also think I was influenced by Atwood’s beautiful handling of Offred’s past, the way the flashbacks show us all that she has lost. The ending is devastating, the way the form itself twists all that we have witnessed.
2. Les Murray’s poetry, particularly Translations from the Natural World (1996). I write poetry as well as fiction, and admire Murray’s hallucinatory techniques when it comes to depicting the alien subjectivity of animals. He invents a new language for each animal he tries to capture, meeting them on their own terms, celebrating their otherness. His approach influenced my own writing of animals in my novel, especially the sections which are narrated by an animal.
3. Michel Faber, again a specific novel Under the Skin (2000). I think this is a masterpiece of contemporary fiction. Isserly, the novel’s protagonist, is an alien living in Scotland, cruising for strong human men for a most sinister purpose. The novel makes no concessions to the reader – our subjectivity is shifted so that we become the aliens. The prose is beautiful, the story gripping and the novel asks philosophical questions about what it means to be human. I try to do the similar in Water & Glass in terms of the questions I want to explore about humanity.
4. Alice Munro. Munro is the master of the short story, and deservedly won the Nobel prize for services to the form. Her work is mesmerising in terms of the clarity of her characterisation and the beautifully-crafted plots of her stories, but it is all worn so lightly. Water & Glass has three short narratives ‘nested’ within in, which I thought of as short stories in themselves. I wanted the novel to be partly about the art of storytelling, and Munro is the master of the short form.
5. Arthur C. Clarke. There are many science fiction writers I might have chosen, but there is a delicacy and beauty to Clarke’s work, particularly his short fictions. One of these ‘The Shining Ones’, makes a cameo appearance in my novel. The genre appeals to me as it takes ideas, based on what could be possible and what is still unknown, and brings them to life with the power of the literary imagination
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR