Julia O’Faolain

Julia O’Faolain is the author of many works of fiction, including No Country for Young Men and The Obedient Wife.

Interview with Myself

Julia O’Faolain, 23 June 1994

My topics are exile, memory and the imagination, and I plan to approach them through a story which has been haunting me. It is an old one about a mermaid: one of those mythic creatures dreamed up by lonely sailors and fishermen who fancied that they had seen beautiful naked women sitting on rocks among the waves. Possibly what they really saw were albino seals gleaming in the moonlight. Maybe the sailors were dazzled, misled by wishful thinking – or had had too much to drink. In the story I am thinking of a fisherman has children by a mermaid, and fearing lest she leave him and go back to the sea, removes and hides her tail. The story has variants but in the end she always finds the tail and goes.


Pat Rogers, 3 June 1982

By the Western calendar, the events chronicled in Shusaku Endo’s latest novel take place between 1613 and 1624. But of course that is an artificial way of looking at the matter. Half the...

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Queen to King Four

Robert Taubman, 19 June 1980

In Shikasta, some months ago, Doris Lessing engaged with space fiction at its most apocalyptic, covered aeons of time and used scores of characters, and left some doubt about her meaning. All is...

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