This week’s Inheritance Books are from Sonya Lalli, whose debut novel is out this week! Welcome to the Inheritance Books sofa Sonya. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself. I’ll go make us some tea.
I’m a 28 year-old Canadian writer, journalist and former lawyer. I’ve been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to write a novel. I put my legal career on hold and moved to London to do a masters in creative writing, during which I wrote The Arrangement. While I’ll be moving back to Canada soon, right now I am currently writing my second novel and working as a legal journalist.
Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
I inherited my Mom’s copies of Jean M Auel’s Earth’s Children Series when I was about 12 years old.
I wasn’t necessary interested in anthropology, nor did I read a lot of historical fiction or sagas – but it was love at first sight. From the moment Mom gifted me her battered copies of the series I was completely captivated by Ayla’s story – a strong woman on a journey of self-discovery in pre-historic Europe.
The first one was The Clan of the Cave Bear where we see Ayla as a young girl – and ends with The Land of Painted Caves, after Ayla is farther along on her journey (geographically and spiritually) and has a partner and daughter. That last one only came out in 2011. It had been thirty years since The Clan of the Cave Bear hit shelves, and as you can imagine Mom was anxiously awaiting the final installment in the series. For the first time, we got to wait for one of Auel’s brilliant books together!
Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?
I would leave future generations Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. It is hands down my favourite book, and while reading it as a young teenager, for the first time I truly connected with the main character of a novel.
Before The Namesake, I’m not sure I’d ever read or heard a story about a kid of Indian heritage growing up in North America. (I’m sure there were some before that – I hope there were – but at that point I hadn’t discovered any.) The novel tells Gogol’s story, a young boy of Bengali Hindu heritage living in Boston. As he grows up and struggles with his identity, everything about him just felt so familiar to me. The push and pull of cultures. Falling in love with someone who was raised so different than you. The way your living room – and the world beyond your front door – can both feel so foreign.
While there still aren’t nearly enough books featuring diverse lead characters, I hope there will be plenty for future generations to choose from. I’d recommend they start with The Namesake.
Readers of this blog will know that this is something I bang on about a lot. Yes, there should definitely more books featuring diverse lead characters. I can also recommend Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies for some incredible short stories.
Thank you for sharing your special books with us, Sonya. All the best with your own books.
Sonya’s debut novel The Arrangement is available to buy now. You can find out more about Sonya on her website. You can also catch her on Twitter and Instagram (@saskinthecity)