Saturday, July 23, 2016

"The House at the Edge of Night"

Catherine Banner was born in Cambridge, UK, in 1989 and began writing at the age of fourteen. She studied English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before moving to County Durham where she worked as a secondary school teacher. She has published a trilogy of young adult novels, The Last Descendants.

Banner applied the Page 69 Test to her debut adult novel, The House at the Edge of Night, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The House at the Edge of Night is almost blank. And yet it’s also one of the most important pages. It’s the final page of the first part of the book, and it ends with the line: ‘On a windblown day in March 1921, the House at the Edge of Night opened for business.’ The whole first part of The House at the Edge of Night is really a gathering of force towards that sentence, which is a moment of transition. The book is about one family, the Espositos, on a tiny Mediterranean island, and their bar, the House at the Edge of Night. In the final four parts, it opens up to span almost 95 years, from the First World War to the 2008 financial crisis. But Part One, which is the most fairytale-like of the book, tells the family’s prehistory: the story of Amedeo Esposito, the island’s first doctor, who faces a dilemma when he delivers two babies in one night, one his lover’s and the other his wife’s. Everything else that happens – the opening of the bar and 95 years of struggle – is a result of that initial, personal predicament. When you tell a big, epic story, you have to make sure the reader cares first. I try to do that principally through the characters, and through the language. And my hope is that by the time the reader gets to page 69 they are utterly invested in Amedeo and his family, willing to follow them into the much wider, more epic sweep of twentieth-century history which comes after.
Visit Catherine Banner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue