Your Favourite Writer
The writer I have most consistently admired over the years is Carolyn Slaughter. Of her eleven published works I have read seven: The Story of the Weasel, Magdalene, Dreams of the Kalahari, The Banquet, A Perfect Woman, The Innocents, and Before the Knife: Memories of an African Childhood. I have two more on my bookshelf (Dresden, Tennessee and A Black Englishman) waiting to be read.
I discovered The Banquet in a second-hand store in Hamilton, Ontario where I was living at the time.
For months Harold watches and admires Blossom before he finds the courage to approach her…
Between them develops a rapport at first exquisite and fragile, and then deepening to a consuming passion. Gradually Blossom realizes that this is forever and that Harold has chosen her for something quite extraordinary. Propelled by an obsession both painful and terrifying, Blossom and Harold are swept towards the affair’s horrifying climax.
Okay, yes, I was going through my obsessive love phase – what twenty-something hasn’t been there, done that? But the quality of Slaughter’s prose was just…so amazingly beautiful. Harold was such a sympathetic character and Blossom so lovely; their story was mesmerizing, right until that shocking ending.
After I read The Banquet I went looking for more of her work and came to discover that she wasn’t so easy to find. I found her novel The Story of the Weasel at The Strand in NYC and devoured it. The story of siblings who fall in love is tragic and perhaps one of the greatest love stories I have ever read. Over the years I’ve tracked down her other work and I have continued to be amazed at the genius of her prose, her understanding of human nature, her fearlessness.
She is the recipient of my one and only fan letter to a writer. I wrote it back in the 80s and she responded: two and a half hand-written pages which I cherish.