Last weekend I appeared at the Cheltenham Festival, talking about David on a panel with H.M.Castor (Vlll) and Pauline Francis (Traitor's Kiss), very ably chaired by Nicolette Jones. It's the third time I've "done Cheltenham" which is only down the road from me and I always enjoy it. The sun always seems to shine, the Green Room is the BEST (beating even Edinburgh's Yurt) and the other events are always interesting.
And this time my book was actually set in the same century as the other two writers' - namely the 16th.
Wagner's Gotterdammerung, which I was pleased she didn't dismiss, is sometimes translated as Twilight of the Gods but can mean Death of the Gods.
What Antonia Byatt wanted was a really bleak ending in which the black waters cover the earth. She was being interviewed by Libby Purves, who is a bit too perky for this subject. But then I remembered they had both lost a son, so maybe she had some empathy with her subject.
What struck me very forcibly was that Byatt said she would not any longer be able to write novels about characters who were much younger than her. I think that's a shame. But I understand what she means, though in her case it's about the technology as much as the moods and emotions.
So I hope she will reconsider. There is a character in Ragnarok called The Thin Child in Wartime and Byatt could write about her because she is really the author herself. The child who was moved out into the countryside from Sheffield in the war.
She would finish her work ahead of time in the small rural school she attended and then be allowed to browse in the book collection, which was where she discovered the Norse myths.
About ten years after her I was doing the same in my Secondary School Library, while bunking off games. Balder was speaking to both of us and the bleak beauty of the downfall of the gods.