The Housemaid’s Daughter at The Book Lounge

Roos Muller commented on main character Ada’s significant individual voice and Mutch agreed that, while she started out to write the novel from Cathleen’s perspective, Ada’s voice and story just “took centre stage”. She also mentioned that it took quite some thinking to decide how best to tell Ada’s story, because she had such a solitary life. Mutch also agreed with Roos Muller that Cathleen bears a remarkable resemblance to late South African author Olive Schreiner, although she isn’t mentioned in the novel.

Central to the novel, Mutch said, is the theme of music. Not only does she use this theme to bind and intertwine her characters’ stories but it also served as inspiration for her writing. As a young girl Mutch received piano lessons from her grandmother who reminisced during these lessons about how she herself travelled from Ireland to marry a strange man in a strange country. Many of Cathleen’s encounters in the book also happened to Mutch’s grandmother. Essentially her grandparents’ story served as main inspiration for The Housemaid’s Daughter.

When asked what prompted her to start writing, Mutch said that being homesick in the United Kingdom probably served as foremost motivator. According to her it took six years to write the novel and she believes that writing fiction is “50% inspiration and 50% application”.

After the discussion, readers had the opportunity to have their books signed by Mutch and to ask this new voice on the literary scene a few more questions.

The House Maid’s Daughter will be launched in the United States in the middle of 2013 and it has already been translated into Icelandic.

 via The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch Launched at The Book Lounge


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