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Showing posts from October, 2017

Bread of Dreams

Historical fiction often brings to mind stylized romance novels set against a picturesque backdrop, usually an account of a well-known noble’s life—not that they don’t have merit, but how many novelizations are there about Elizabeth I or Cleopatra? And of course we can’t forget the rags-to-riches story of a commoner who rises in society through a combination of cleverness and good looks (almost always humble, too!). Granted, readers often seek to be swept away in an escapist fantasy, but what about the stories hidden in the vast swaths of the population that are usually consigned to a sea of extras—the angry and mocking mob or the admiring crowd in the presence of gentle nobles—you know, the royal wedding of the unlikely-but-charming couple?
In the words of Piero Camporesi, author of Bread of Dreams, “The voices of the wretched, the miserable and alienated, weak and plaintive, have never found citizenship in the beautiful palace that is literary history.” He covers quite a bit in this …