Meet the female authors bringing the old to new life

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Authors Lisa See and Marianne Adair approach war and revolution differently in their newest novels. Read on to learn more about their storytelling approaches.

Lisa See: “Dante’s Inferno”

“I think of this as an age-old story — the story of a great empire crumbling under the harsh light of truth, while religious extremism, corruption and greed threaten their survival,” See said.

See drew from her own experiences of escaping from North Korea, as well as her experiences as a filmmaker documenting the changes in Vietnam, in creating “Dante’s Inferno.”

Roughly inspired by Dante’s verses in the “Inferno,” seen by many as a representation of hell, “Dante’s Inferno” tells the story of a family trying to survive a disaster.

“Every family has to deal with tragedy, every family has to deal with the moving-on process.

“I wanted to write a novel about what happens in these times, this moment in our world, especially these times where so much is so uncertain,” See said.

See calls “Dante’s Inferno” her most personal work yet, including a period of time she was held captive by North Korean authorities during her time as a journalist.

“This story was the most personal to me because it draws on my own experience,” See said.

See has a bibliography that includes works by Anthony Powell, Jan Morris, F. Scott Fitzgerald and E.M. Forster.

Marianne Adair: “At The Beginning of the World”

In “At the Beginning of the World,” Adair has sent her main character, ex-England rugby star Matthew Bourne, to find her biological father after falling in love with him, setting off a web of deceit, deceit and more, most notably, a series of lies that end up betraying their own mother.

The “time-swapped” fiction works as a vehicle for Adair’s passion for exploring old ghosts and feelings of regret.

“A lot of people are obviously writing novels for people who are interested in their parent or grandparent or a person’s past,” Adair said. “For me, I’ve always been interested in leaving that space open, to leave that realm of what’s already there.

“I find that the story always improves if I can go back and revisit it, or at least revisit it with my own — with my own point of view, with my characters.”

Adair said she was inspired to write “At the Beginning of the World” because she wanted to explore the way that people who grow up together may go “off and separate,” leaving a part of themselves out of the process.

“I like to think that people end up in their own separate little bit of the world — that they end up losing a part of themselves when they grow up and that’s kind of what they become when they come together in adulthood,” Adair said.

“I thought, Well, what if they never get the chance to talk to each other again? What if we can’t see each other the way we are now?”

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