Today I’m delighted to welcome poet and romance novelist Claire Dyer.
“My Porridge & Cream book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows.
I read this book when it was first published and return to it for a multitude of reasons. I guess the main one, however, is that it’s essentially about good people and reading it reminds me that there’s more goodness in the world than sometimes is apparent. The novel is set in 1946 and tells the story of author Juliet Ashton who stumbles into a correspondence with Dawsey Adams of Guersney. In this respect it reminds me of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (another favourite).
Dawsey is a member of The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and, as letters fly back and forward between them, other members of the Society and Juliet’s friends and admirers in England, much is revealed about these good-hearted people and the lives of those who lived in Guernsey under German Occupation.
On the surface it’s a light-hearted and easy read. The letters are jaunty, wry and funny and the correspondents nearly always put a positive spin on their hardships and heartaches, but underneath there are dark threads: threads about loss, sacrifice, grief and impossible love. Despite this, this is a book where these losses, sacrifices, grief and love prevail and rise triumphant.
There is much I learn each time I read it about how goodness can endure and also how it is often what we say between the lines that matters most.
I believe it’s due to be made into a film and I will be first in line at the cinema to see it and will keep re-reading the novel at regular intervals because it gives me a warm glow each time I do.”
Claire Dyer’s Bio
A novelist and poet from Reading, UK, Claire’s poetry collections, Eleven Rooms and Interference Effects are published by Two Rivers Press. Her novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair, and short story Falling for Gatsby, are published by Quercus. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and is a regular guest on BBC Radio Berkshire’s Radio Reads with Bill Buckley. Claire also teaches creative writing at literary and writers’ festivals and for Bracknell & Wokingham College and runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service.
Claire Dyer’s links
Read more about Claire’s books at her website.
Follow her on Twitter at @ClaireDyer1
Reviews of Claire Dyer’s books
Interference Effects (poetry, Two Rivers Press): ‘This collection flickers with language as quick as the fish that swim in the poems, as the butterfly whose “light interference” is as real as it is suggestive, as illusory as it is sensuous. Meaning turns in a flick of a word, a phrase, an image, the familiar made strange: family love, sexual love, grief are turning silvers in darkness, the other side of the ordinary.’ — GILLIAN CLARKE
The Perfect Affair (fiction, Quercus): ‘An exquisitely written, emotional book about impossible love and the moments that make like beautiful.’ – JULIE COHEN
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.
‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows [UK: Bloomsbury]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @ClaireDyer1 love THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY? http://wp.me/p5gEM4-22a via @SandraDanby