Annie Proulx; Close Reading: Beloved by Toni Morrison; Graham Greene's The Third Man

Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx's latest novel Barkskins is a 700 page epic which opens with some of the first Europeans to settle in the New World and follows their descendants over three hundred years to the present day. The novel explores man's relationship with nature, and the way that generations of people have exploited the environment - particularly the forests of North America. Annie Proulx talks to Mariella Frostrup.

Also on the programme, Dr Sarah Dillon examines the qualities of Toni Morrison's writing in her great novel Beloved, and the story behind Graham Greene's The Third Man.

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28 minutes

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Thu 23 Jun 2016 15:30

Come to a recording of Open Book in Cardiff on 7 July

Beloved by Toni Morrison

“What were you praying for, Ma’am?”

 “Not for anything.  I don’t pray anymore.  I just talk.”

 “What were you talking about?”

 “You won’t understand, baby.”

 “Yes, I will.”

 “I was talking about time.  It’s so hard for me to believe in it.  Some things go.  Pass on.  Some things just stay.  I used to think it was my rememory.  You know.  Some things you forget.  Other things you never do.  But it’s not.  Places, places are still there.  If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place - the picture of it - stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world.  What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head.  I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there.  Right in the place where it happened.”

 “Can other people see it?” asked Denver.

 “Oh yes.  Oh, yes, yes, yes.  Someday you be walking down the road and you hear something or see something going on.  So clear.  And you think it’s you thinking it up.  A thought picture.  But no.  It’s when you bump into a rememory that belongs to somebody else.  Where I was before I came here, that place is real.  It’s never going away...  So, Denver, you can’t never go there.  Never.  Because even though it’s all over - over and done with - it’s going to always be there waiting for you.  That’s how come I had to get all my children out.  No matter what.”

 Denver picked at her fingernails.  “If it’s still there, waiting, that must mean that nothing ever dies.”

 Sethe looked right in Denver’s face.  “Nothing ever does,” she said.

Read the opening chapter of Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Barkskins: Chapter 1 by Annie Proulx


Role Contributor
PresenterMariella Frostrup
Interviewed GuestAnnie Proulx
Interviewed GuestSarah Dillon

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