It’s a real pleasure to welcome Marie Gameson as my guest on Being Anne today, to tell us a little about her latest book: The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) was published by Salt Publishing in July, and looks just fascinating. You may well remember meeting Marie here before – I featured a lovely interview with her about The Turtle Run, a book written in partnership with her mother Margot, and published under the name of Marie Evelyn (read that interview again here). But this time Marie’s on her own…
“Winifred is exasperated by her Catholic mother’s inability to accept her conversion to Buddhism, and by her family’s determination to drag her back to her former life. But when an elderly stranger – haunted by a Mr Gadd – turns up on Winnie’s doorstep, insisting that stories she wrote as a teenager hold the key to his supernatural problems, Winnie is forced to renew acquaintance with her younger self.
Why did she write about a Mr Gadd, who died years before she was born?”
The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) does have lots of humour, but the main theme is grief – not so much grief for the dead as for the living. The main character, Winnie Rigby, is exasperated that her conversion to Buddhism and attachment to the Orient are strongly resented by her family, who seem in perpetual mourning for the person she used to be. Needless to say, Winnie’s family don’t share her joy when she recounts that the best experience of her life was a moment of profound insight whilst on a mountain in Taiwan – an experience which has left her with no sensation of her head.
Having been tricked back to the UK, Winnie’s only objective is to get back to Taiwan just as soon as she can figure out how to replace the funds that have mysteriously disappeared from her account – (on her instructions according to the Bank) – but which seem to have gone to a cause that sounds suspiciously close to her mother’s heart. Determined to resist her family’s attempts to make her remember who she used to be, Winnie’s resolve is compromised when an elderly man turns up on her doorstep begging her to stop the late Mr Gadd from haunting him. Winnie finds out that Mr Gadd meant something significant to her younger self – if she could only remember what. And then her next challenge: she has to find him.
Winnie’s character was a joy to capture. I wouldn’t say that she is an unreliable narrator – she narrates very faithfully – but she just sees (and hears) things differently to most of us. A translator by profession, she is often more comfortable thinking in Chinese than English, and she puts some of the seemingly baffling behavior of the people around her down to a clash between western and eastern mindsets. Although the story does not contain supernatural elements, in order to unravel the mystery of Mr Gadd, Winne has to look for the answers in Chinese ancestor worship, different funeral cultures, and ultimately to unravel secrets within her own family. Eventually the Reader will find out the most important thing Winnie doesn’t know about herself.
Many thanks Anne, for giving me a guest spot.
A real pleasure, Marie – I really like the look of that one, and wish you every success with it…
About the author
Marie Gameson is half of the mother and daughter writing team who published The Turtle Run as ‘Marie Evelyn’. Her latest book, The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) was published by Salt this summer and is available on Amazon. You can find out more about her and her books at her website.