Just received this in the post. I’ve been fortunate enough to see The Girl with Glass Feet translated into quite a few different languages, and I’m always really thrilled to get copies of the finished books. The ones that aren’t in Romance languages, however, are an especial treat. Like most English people, I’m terrible at speaking anything else, but at least if I can recognise the letters I can have a clumsy go at a few sentences. I can’t, of course, do that when the characters are of a kind I can’t read, but I get a thrill out of the opacity of the text. I wrote this, I think, even though I don’t understand it. And I love that.
Here’s the pretty cover of the new Spanish edition of La chica con pies de cristal. It’s available from Ediciones Salamandra and they’ve done a lovely job of it. I send them a big, heartfelt gracias.
This was the time of night when things seemed unreal, when a thought that could be dismissed in daylight might take hold of the guts and not be uprooted until morning… He’d dreamed of lightning striking beaches and fusing sand grains into glass. – from The Girl with Glass Feet Much of the fun of researching a novel comes from the strange tangential discoveries that you make while doing so, the tidbits of knowledge your usual reading pattern would never lead you to. While I was writing The Girl with Glass Feet I read all I could about glass. Glass is, of course, always a product of transformation. Glass blowers have been creating it from silica for centuries. But as I read, I hoped to discover naturally occurring transformations that might help me visualise the one afflicting Ida in my story. I am pleased to be able to inform you that our big, bad and beautiful world did not disappoint. Glass is, after all, just a very dramatic example of a constant process. Everything on Earth is continuously transforming, much as I have transformed from one thing to another during the writing of this sentence, and you have transformed into something infinitesimally different during the reading of it. In the case of glass creation, however, such metamorphoses can take place at breathtaking speed. We would have to put our lives in danger to witness the fastest and most powerful natural creation of glass. Even if we survived the spectacle, our eyes would likely be too slow to watch the change taking place. But let’s imagine that we are superhumanly tough and eagle-eyed and we are standing on a beach during a thunderstorm. The sea is going wild, the sky is black with clouds, but it’s the beach we’re watching closely. A lightning bolt blasts down from the clouds and smashes into the sand. And in that microsecond the extreme heat fuses the fine rock grain into a forking glass fossil. This is a fulgurite, a streak of glass forged in the shape of the lightning bolt that made it. If we had lived a thousand years ago in Scandinavia one of us could have picked it up and hung it around our neck on a thread, in doing so guaranteeing the blessings of Thor. Nowadays we could probably make a few coins from selling it in a fossil shop. Apart from during the sentence at the head of this post, I couldn’t find room for a fulgurite in The Girl with Glass Feet. Still I imagine that the beaches of St Hauda’s Land are rich with them. Perhaps there are even fulgurites there such as this one, the largest ever discovered, a glass tube penetrating seventeen feet into the earth. There was no way at all to fit the following glassy curiosity into the novel. All the same, I’ve got a soft spot for these microscopic beings. They’re diatoms, miniscule organisms that live in the water. The interesting thing … Read More