I was really pleased to have been invited to be part of the blogtour for Transworld Books and to read Gavin Chait’s second novel: “Our Memory Like Dust”. I love reviewing books, mainly because I love reading but it also helps me use my English Literature degree!
“Our Memory Like Dust” is a bit like a rubber band ball. It takes a while to find the end but once it’s there, you’re on board. It’s a multi-narrative, location and temporal story driven by Gaw Gon, a god who appears as a baboon, able to draw memories from people and view them like films.
As you can tell (and regular readers know), I normally lean towards YA/bildungsroman type novels, mainly in current-ish times and usually with a twist. For example: “The Time Traveler’s Wife” – it’s a love story where one half of the couple has trouble staying located in time.
“Our Memory Like Dust” was a departure out of my usual comfort zone, and I enjoyed the change of pace. I talked to author Gavin Chait, to find out a bit more about it – click on the link below for the storify timeline!
Some question and answers we did offline – there was so much to discuss!:
Where did the idea for the book come from?
Travelling in Mozambique 20 years ago with a group of Nigerian migrants, listening to their stories, and wondering about the myths inherent in mass refugee crises. This was shortly before the rather awful floods that came through there a few weeks later, and we ended up walking out through central Mozambique after the truck we were travelling in sank in a swamp.
What five books would you take to a desert island?
Actually covered this in quite some detail for Transworld:
Do you have to have read your first book to tie in with “Our Memory Like Dust”?
No, definitely not (and it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever write a series). However, if you do, you may find a deeper theme in how characters and narratives echo. Plus, the importance of names…
Who are the authors who inspire you?
Not so much authors as creatives. Sure, Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, Mikhail Bulgakov and Alan Paton, but also Ai Weiwi, Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan, Jocelyn Pook, Ismael Lo, Johnny Clegg, Emel Mathlouthi, Desmond Tutu … the list goes on.
What are you reading now?
Not reading much fiction. I find it strangely difficult to read fiction while I’m writing fiction. I mostly spend time reading reference material. So at the moment it’s all yacht repair manuals, physics textbooks and a fair number of accounts of various disasters (Into Thin Air, Annapurna, Force 10, Outside Magazine’s ‘Best of’ …)
Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Coffee … coffee … single origin, medium roast, preferably Ethiopian done as pour-over, AeroPress or flat white. And I love ocean kayaking. Being out on my own in the middle of nowhere is the place I find my centre.
Thank you Gavin, and thanks to Transworld for the BlogTour! Follow on twitter with #OurMemoryLikeDust