We bring you two extraordinary novels in 2020, plotting a future for historical fiction beyond the conventions of that genre. Asking what comes after the psychogeography that has come to dominate literary fictions’ depiction of the past.
Mr. Beethoven (April 30th) sees internationally respected music historian Paul Griffiths (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, OBE) and music critic (The New Yorker, The New York Times) imagine a visit by Beethoven to the United States to write a Biblical oratorio. Griffiths weaves in the historiography of his search for what Beethoven could have done, becoming an account of the fragility of historical sources.
The Composer comes to rely on two women, the widow Mrs. Hill and Thankful; whose Martha’s Vineyard sign-language conducts conversations with the Composer.
Griffiths’ has begun celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary with another separate commission for Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, a witty, dynamic setting of Beethoven’s words within his music.
London Launch at St George’s German Lutheran Church.
You can join us over a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of Mr. Beethoven with Paul Griffiths.
Thursday 30th April 2020, 7-9pm
St George’s German Lutheran Church
55 Alie St,
London E1 8EB
The event is not ticketed, but email david[at]henninghamfamilypress.co.uk if you want to ensure your place.
In The Blackbird (June 30th) Hope nurses a husband with Alzheimer’s, a retired civic sculptor. A secret he has kept for her threatens the fragile peace she has made with her parents’ memory: the truth of what happened to her mother while her obsessive father built Liverpool Cathedral as the bombs still fell. Allen resists glorification of the Blitz with the sights, sounds and smells that surround helpless citizens.
Claire Allen weaves together two little-known histories around one woman, Hope. The Liverpool Blitz (WW2) and a contemporary community living in the post-War architecture of Allen’s London “Blackbird Estate”. The form of the built environment becomes her source. An alternative to psychogeography’s litany of special cases.