Meeting Lynn Truss talking Cat Out of Hell, Tennyson's Gift, and a certain Mrs. Cameron!
Upon the U.S. publication of Cat out of Hell by Lynn Truss last month, I finally got a rare chance to meet her and have a brief chat with her about her novels, a certain Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Julia Margaret Cameron. Her current novel, Cat out of Hell is a Gothic take on a story of a cat's nine lives and each interaction with its human (owner). Lynn, brilliantly, writes from the cat's perspective telling each life's story to his human and then switches chapters from the human character perspective who can't believe their 'pet' cat is speaking to them in English! It is hilarious. However, there is a dark undertone on a serious note about death and grief but overall highly recommended.
I was one of a very small crowd sitting inside an Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC, Barnes and Noble, listening to Lynn Truss read a chapter or two from, 'Cat out of Hell' while taking a few questions. I knew right away I was one of the only people who knew who she was or who has read any of her previous novels. You see, in farness, Ms. Truss, has not been published here in ten years so Cat out of Hell is a pretty big deal.
I had one surprise up my sleeve however. Tucked in my bag was the above book along with my paperback of my favorite farce novel, 'Tennyson's Gift' that I read back in 2011. It has not been published in the U.S. yet. As members of the crowd began to ask her questions, about why the cat perspective, why its tagged 'gothic' etc., it was my turn. I asked her a question related to Cat out of Hell asking her is she could speak a bit about the underlying tone of grief which she did. Then, I asked her about, 'Tennyson's Gift'! You should have seen the surprised smile cross her face. I briefly told her how much I love it and how did she come to write it and research it etc. She was very obliging, very intelligent and witty.
Lynn's inscription inside my above copy of Tennyson's Gift: "For Kimberly, Have a wonderful trip to Freshwater! much love, Lynn Truss
As she began to answer my question, I was trying to hard to concentrate but my brain kept shouting, 'Lynn Truss is talking to you about Tennyson and Cameron! OMG! Stop fan girling out!! Too late! Basically, she explained how she was vacationing on the Isle of Wight when during her research she was intrigued by the friendship between Tennyson and Cameron and wrote, Tennyson's Gift. Well, at least that's how I remember it at the time. You must understand I was star struck and trying hard to concentrate. Tennyson's Gift was one of the very first novels I read that humanized Tennyson for me and so to meet Lynn Truss in my home town city no less well, words fail.
So, there we are time to sign books. When it was my time, I told her about my love of researching Cameron and Tennyson, my blog site, my previous review of Tennyson's Gift which she told me she would look up and read. Then I told her how much her novels mean to me, how much I derive from them personally, whether its for escapism or even my own research. I mentioned a friend's book on Julia Margaret Cameron which she did not know, and told her about my upcoming trip to the Isle of Wight which is why she inscribed my book thusly. Overall, she was wonderful to speak with and so grateful to every one who came. There was another woman who knew of her books and was so happy to speak with her but overall it was a very small crowd who had previously only known her for her puntuation book. Hopefully, that will change in the future.
Here is my review of, Tennyson's Gift