May 20, 2014

Auckland Writers Festival 2014: "An hour with Lloyd Jones"

Guest post by Blair, Readers Services, Central Library.

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to but they do,
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you."

syndetics-lcThis Philip Larkin poem, as read by Peter Wells, set the tone for an engaging hour with Lloyd Jones. The subject of the discussion was Jones’s candid memoir, A History of Silence. Set against the destruction of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Jones’s book attempts to unearth the foundations of his family. The task was made difficult by his parents' belief that ‘you are what you make yourself’. In the Jones family the past was rarely, if ever, discussed.

Jones revealed that despite this ethos, his parents were clearly products of their troubled past. His mother’s extreme sensitivity, for example, was a direct result of her upbringing as an abandoned, illegitimate child. Jones’s grandmother, Maude, was vilified by her daughter. To Lloyd and his siblings, she became almost mythic - a caricature of an evil absentee mother. However, Jones discovered that Maude was far more complex than his mother believed. Her actions also stemmed from a troubled past, a past she too tried to bury.

Jones was an articulate and witty speaker, but the highlight of the event was his two readings from A History of Silence. His evocative, dreamy prose perfectly captured the themes of the book and was a real pleasure to listen to.

Ditulis Oleh : Karen Craig // 11:29
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