When Geraldine Brooks went through her father’s possessions after his death, she found the bundles of letters which prompted her to write Foreign Correspondence. Lawrie Brooks had been in the habit of writing to politicians and intellectuals with ideas and questions, and he had kept all their replies. Each letter, Brooks reflects, is ‘a small piece of the mosaic of his restless mind’. Because her father hoarded his past in photographs and newspaper clippings as well as letters, she had the makings of an intimate portrait of a reserved and unhappy man.... (read more)
‘I wanted to give a sense of the people of the book, the different hands that had made it, used it, protected it. I wanted it to be a gripping narrative, even suspenseful.’ So says Hanna Heath, protagonist of Geraldine Brooks’s latest novel, about her search through time and place for the history of ‘the Sarajevo Haggadah’, the ‘Book’ of the title ...... (read more)
Spacious and solidly constructed, the classic nineteenth-century novel invites revisiting. Later writers reconfigure its well-known spaces, change the lighting, summon marginal figures to the centre. Most memorable, perhaps, is Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), in which the first Mrs Rochester ...... (read more)
Geraldine Brooks credits her son, Nathaniel, with sparking the idea and title for her latest novel. For his bar mitzvah, Nathaniel chose to play an arrangement for harp of Leonard Cohen’s famous ‘Hallelujah’. It begins with these lines: ‘Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord / That David played, and it pleased the Lord.’
Music is crucial to Bro ...
Geraldine Brooks has an extraordinary radar for a good story, a curiosity that has carried her, and her readers, from Year of Wonders (2001), set during England’s plague of 1666; to March andthe American Civil War; to medieval Spain and the People of the Book (2008).Her latest novel, Caleb’s Crossing, is set closer to the place Brooks calls home – in th ...
Why do you write?
Because I like to eat.
Are you a vivid dreamer?
During the day. I love reverie. It’s underrated. As T.E. Lawrence put it: ‘The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream, to make it possible. This I di ...