'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 17 October 2010

Guest Post - Andy Mulligan: Where is Trash Set?

Andy Mulligan's recent release of his masterpiece YA novel - Trash - has been a mighty success (see the Kids Book Review here) - already his book is receiving rave reviews all over the world.

Kids Book Review has been offered a rare glimpse into the leadup to the book's release, from the author himself, and so we are delighted to publish three guest posts this afternoon - the first one answering a question I also had about Trash... where is it set?

Andy Mulligan here, writing hard on this Internet tour, putting Nick Cave onto the ipod so that I can concentrate – why does Nick Cave always provide just the right stuff?

Trash is out in a few days, and we’re preparing for a book launch in Manila, blowing up the balloons and printing the free bookmarks. It is strange to be sitting in the very city where the novel was conceived, and to be walking past the statues that feature, and even – now and then – the trash boys doing their late-night rounds.

‘Why don’t you make it clear it’s the Philippines?’ said a very educated Fillipino to me, yesterday.

‘I wanted to create a country that could be anywhere -’

‘Yes, I realize that. Why?’

‘I wanted the reader to think it could be Calcutta, Bogotá, Rio -’

‘Like I said, I realize that. Why?’

I have thought about this a lot, so I tried to get it clear in my own mind. Because the situation is not unique to the Philippines, and because – as a guest of the Philippines – I don’t feel like writing something that might be seen as an attack.

Political corruption, child-labour, police-brutality – is there a country in the world that doesn’t suffer these evils? Even in the safe and sacred world of the UK and the US – do we know what happens in our police stations, and how the rich dodge their taxes? Do we know what happens to the waifs turning up on our railway stations? – and even if ‘child labour’ is a thing of the past, let’s not forget that our industries were built on that very commodity.

No: ‘Trash’ is not a book about the Philippines. The Philippines gave me some really vivid pictures, and out came the book.

It really is set anywhere.

See Andy's second post here and third post here. And see his website for more.