Book: Finding Penelope by James Lawlesscategories: Book, Spain, Family, Self-Realisation, Loyalty, Goodness, Romance
James Lawlessabout this book: Apart from casting a wry glance at the phenomenon of chick lit and treating of the role of patriarchy in a family, the novel Finding Penelope is essentially a love story marking a growth in self-realisation in the protagonist Penelope Eames. It delves into the drugs culture and its associated criminality in Spain (where a lot of Celtic Tiger money wound up laundered), Ireland and the UK. The prompt for the novel was from Cervantes (I have Spanish in my degree) and a motif may be interpreted as a sort of modern day parallel of Don Quijote's attack on the proliferation of romance novels of that time. As seventy per cent of readers are now female, I wanted to understand more of the female mindset. So I picked the brains of women of my acquaintance, including two adult daughters and I researched contemporary women writers and books like Everywoman and I reread with new female (or at least androgynous eyes) my well-thumbed de Beauvoir, Anna Karenina and Portrait of a Lady. Simultaneously, I was studying the crime culture on the Costa. The result was the character Penelope Eames.
• "I thought 'Finding Penelope' was brilliant. I loved the heroine, Penelope Eames, a modestly successful romantic writer who is a sort of everywoman of our times and a wonderful mix of insight, diffidence and foolishness. I also relished the milieu in which 'Finding Penelope' is set, the expatriate Anglophone world of the Spanish Mediterranean, where lonely English widows and gangsters and Irish novelists and aspiring starlets all get jumbled up together and make a fine old mess of their lives in the process. This is a really, really fine piece of sharp, precise and accurate work. A novel that will give deep literary pleasure."
— Carlo Gébler, author
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