What I particularly liked about the launch was the mix of people who attended - family and friends of Eliza, and fans of Eliza who have discovered the book through us. It was a lovely atmosphere, and we really appreciated the opportunity to host this very special evening in the shop.
The longer I do this job, the more I sneakily suspect that lots of booksellers have a secret hankering to be authors. Which probably won't ever happen - so the next best thing is to feel that you have discovered a famous author - who then goes on to be extremely successful. Now, I can't claim that we discovered Eliza Graham - Macmillan New Writing did that - but I'm dead chuffed that we got to know Eliza earlier this year, picked Playing With The Moon for the front table when it first came out, did it for our bookgroup, then watched delighted (and slightly smugly) as it was picked for the Books to Talk about shortlist. We then ran a wonderful event during the Arts Festival just before the shortlist was announced. Anyway, when Eliza asked if she could launch her new book Restitution at Mostly Books, we were delighted. Eliza herself has already blogged about the event - so my apologies for the tardiness in getting our report online (particularly remiss given it was such a wonderful event). Restitution is a very powerful novel, dealing with themes familiar to fans of PWTM - seismic events in war-time that still resonate years late, buried secrets and their slow uncovering as the novel progresses. Stylistically the book is also similar, splitting as it does between a number of time periods both before and after the war. But the similarities end there. Restitution - I feel - shows the author more confidently tackling bigger and more challenging themes (something you want to see in a favourite writer) even if - as here - the themes of hatred, retribution, the terrible cost particularly on women at the end of the Second World War - do not make easy reading. Here, Eliza talks about some of the motivations she had for writing the novel: