Thursday, April 7, 2016
F is for Frankau and Ferrente
My theme this year is the ABCEDARIA of Women who have inspired me.
F is for Pamela Frankau, a British novelist who lived from 1908 - 1967. Oh boy, this brings up so much - just to write her name. You see, when I was fourteen years old I wrote Frankau. I had just read A Wreath for an Enemy - a book she wrote in 1954. It is a wonderful story -especially for an intense teenager! It is about two teenagers who both encounter older people that change their way of thinking. It is about morality, virtue, and cowardice. I highly recommend it - I've reread it many times and never get tired of it. In fact, as I was writing this, I realized it had a huge influence on the novel I just finished. An influence so deeply rooted I didn't even see it until this minute. I think I've read about every book she's ever written and loved each one. Oh, and that letter I wrote her? She answered - fourteen pages hand-written on blue paper. All about my desire to be a writer and how to achieve it. I don't have the letter anymore (don't ask - forty moves later) but I still remember the heart and care that she put into that letter for an awkward teen girl with big dreams.
F is also for Elena Ferrante, novelist - and amazing woman. Or is she? We don't know. All we know is that an Italian writer using that name is producing the most marvelous novels. I just finished the last novel in the Neapolitan Novels. Four books about two friends from Naples that span the 50's to almost present day. I could've lived in those novels for ever.
Why does she inspire me? Her writing - pure and simple. In fact she has been known to say that once a novel is written it has no need of the author. I love that thought. She writes in a way that is different from anyone I've read. Some reviewer or another said that if Jane Austin had been angry she would've written like Ferrante. The anger is apparent - the deep dislike of a misogynist culture - the forces that shape the two young girls - rape culture, physical abuse culture - the politics - all of it. Also the way she dives into the thoughts of both women and the complexity of the relationship intrigue me. All in all - this woman is inspiring - even in her mystery.
Anyone you admire based solely on their art? Have you ever written a letter to someone you admire and gotten a response?