The Angel Child is gaining an audience; I say ‘audience’ although others will talk of ‘readers’. Or is this an exaggeration?
An audience is associated with theatre; a play where there is a visual ensemble. The scene or scenes are presented through someone else’s imagination. The characters are played by actors, entering the emotions, the dynamics of the playwright’s text. All filtered through the director’s intellectual concept of that text. This is what I hope with ‘The Angel Child’, that the readers become the audience, visualising the scenes as written on the page, being the characters, there, within that setting, feeling their emotions .
In this novel my audience enters a world which is ‘other’, places which are vividly imagined and drawn, real, and yet what happens there is perhaps a little off-key with our normal world; except is it? The woman who lived outside, making a ‘nest’ in trees with umbrellas for shelter, is true, though her reasons for doing so, of what could have brought her to that way of life, are entirely my invention. The girl, who gives her name to the title, is perhaps an exaggeration of the result of possessive love and jealousy. And the balloon man’s hot breath is a metaphor for the love of motherhood and the pain which prejudice and ostracisation can cause.
Lula is my wise woman, her rainbow a resource for comfort and resilience even when it plays truant. The circus is a whole gamut of the people that come and go in our lives, joy, disaster, fear and triumph. When Miserere … but I must not reveal any more for this is a theatre to enter, be my audience.
‘Wolf Hall’, one of the finest books written and its sequel ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, were for me a private read. I became immersed in that world, at times ‘became’ those characters, especially Thomas Cromwell. When it was adapted for the stage I was not happy; my space, my interpretation was going to be violated. Nevertheless I had planned that one day I would take courage and go to see it. Then the TV series was promised which brought on another squirm of unease. How can they, in six parts adapt two long and thrilling novels? How could they, anyone, portray MY Thomas Cromwell? With extreme trepidation I have watched, beome the audience to several other people’s interpretation of Hilary Mantel’s original and they were good, very good. Why wouldn’t they be when she, the author, was pleased, had commended them? Of course they’re fine, Mark Rylance is a superb Thomas Cromwell. However I still want to shout to anyone watching who has not read the original novel texts, you must. They are so much richer, their world is so much larger, wider, more terrifying, literally fine.