Here is a guest post from Deborah Stone.
1. Location in What’s Left Unsaid
The novel is based primarily in Manchester and London in the UK (apart from Annie’s evacuation to Carnforth and Sasha’s brief university life in Bristol) and I myself grew up in Manchester and moved to London straight after university (which was Durham, by the way, not Bristol!) I wanted to write about locations which I really knew, in order to make them come alive on the page. Obviously, I was not living in Manchester at the time that part of the novel is set - which is the pre and post war years - but the basic locations were known to me and I researched in detail into the places as they would have been at that time. London was easier, as I have lived there for many years and whilst shops and buildings have changed hands and facades have been updated, the general feel of life in the capital remains similar.
City locations were also very important to my characters. They struggle to deal with the pace of life. Sasha is married to a high flying lawyer, who is wedded to his work and is never at home. Annie is married to Joe, who is highly successful and who works and plays hard in a bustling city. The women never quite know where their husbands are and this ambiguity is facilitated by the vast metropolis within which they live.
Home environments are never quite settled or secure in the novel. Annie’s evacuation is cruel and traumatic and when she returns home, she feels like stranger in her own house. Sasha tries to make her family safe and secure at home, yet events prevent her from doing so. Annie lives in a permanent state of confusion at home, never knowing the time of day and waiting to pass on from it. Her location shifts constantly, depending on her state of mind.
Deborah Stone read English Literature at Durham University. She lives in North London with her husband, two sons and her dog.