Isabel Wolff is the author of A Question of Love, Forget Me Not and A Vintage Affair. We were very pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for her new novel, Ghostwritten which was released by HarperCollins on 27th March. We had a chat with Isabel about her new book, her ideal dinner guests and her best writing moment so far…
Can you tell us about Ghostwritten?
The novel is set in present day Cornwall and on wartime Java, and is about a ghost writer, Jenni. Jenni loves her job because it satisfies her curiosity about other peoples’ lives – she specialises in memoirs; it also means that she can immerse herself in their lives and not think about her own life too much. One day Jenni is commissioned to write the memoirs of a Dutch woman, Klara, who grew up on a rubber plantation on Java. After the Japanese invasion Klara was interned in a prison camp, with her mother and younger brother: approaching 80 she has finally decided to tell her extraordinary story of survival. Jenni is excited by this new commission, until she learns that Klara lives in Cornwall, in the very village that still holds terrors for Jenni after a traumatic incident there when she was a child. Reluctantly, Jenni accepts, and goes to Polvarth. As she listens to Klara’s story, she finds striking coincidences with her own life, and with the tragedy that has haunted her for so long. With Klara’s help she starts to lay to rest the ghosts of her past.by
A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets.
Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?
I have read books based around the time of World War II but this is the first one I have read that tells it from the point of view of the Japanese occupation. From reading the blurb, I was intrigued but didn’t know what to expect.by