William Brodrick, in a career change that reverses that of his character Father Anselm's, was an Augustinian friar before leaving in order to become a practicing barrister. His novels include The Sixth Lamentation, The Gardens of the Dead and A Whispered Name which has also won Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award in 2009.
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William Brodrick discusses The 6th Lamentation
Could you describe the genesis of The 6th Lamentation? How does you own
family history relate to the novel?
The novel springs from two sources. The first is personal. During the occupation of Holland my mother was part of a group who tried to smuggle Jewish children to safety. She was caught and imprisoned. The memory of what the Nazis did lay fresh upon her for the rest of her life. She talked little about her own experience, but always with a charged brevity. I wanted to write a memorial to her and that terrible time. The second source is rather prosaic. For a long time I had thought that a former lawyer who had become a monka natural blend of the practical and the reflectivewould make an interesting character in fiction, especially if he was a person of faith who understood the troubled questions of today without possessing any trim answers. The novel grew from bringing together these two streams of interest.
As someone who left the monastery to become a lawyer, do you now see issues of justice more in terms of their legal or their theological implications? Or is it impossible to separate the two?
I cannot separate them. Or perhaps...
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