The Original Capriccio

In his article on the original Capriccio (Ted Hughes Society Journal Vol 8 Issue 2) Steve Ely discusses both the importance of the engravings by Leonard Baskin, and the relevance of Assia Wevill  to the poetry. I found this article fascinating in Ely’s description of the collaboration between Hughe and Baskin. However I found it unsympathetic to Assia, describing her […]

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Assia’s Birthday 15 May 1927

If Assia, named Esther in my novel. ‘Capriccio’, had lived to see this day, she would have reached the grand old age of ninety-three. Instead, in a moment of madness, she took her own life, and that of her daughter with Ted Hughes, at the age of forty-one. A double tragedy, undoubtedly caused by her stormy relationship with Hughes, and […]

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Latest Reviews of ‘Capriccio: A Novel’

This delightful review came all the way from Colorado, USA To summarise, I was totally hooked and could not put the book down. The story has multiple themes, as did the movie, “Parasite.”  Where to start?  One theme was, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt”.  Another might be- “Be careful what you wish for, ” and “what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” to name just a few. You certainly zeroed in on obsession and narcissism in your portrayal of the characters.  What a tragic story! I certainly had sympathy for Esther (although I wanted to shake her into reality at every turn, her background help me understand her sensibilities) the same for Grace. Tony and Tanya were the innocent victims of the obsession, no doubt. Having no sympathy for Larry, what so ever, was probably due to knowing very little about his background before Esther. I guess that might reflect my “ME TOO”  bias in today’s world. As I read I was curious as to what inspired your writing related to your own background, Dina. It is always assumed that writers write from what they know. Dave also read your novel.  Well done expresses both of our sentiments.   Sarah, March 2020. Quoted with permission    2. I’m humbled and delighted by this 5 star review on Goodreads in January 2020. So happy readers are still enjoying it. Dragonladymoi‘s review Jan 07, […]

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The Joys and Perils of the Writing Life

The Joys and Perils of the Writing Life So here I am, as Abraham said to the Lord when offering up his son for sacrifice. “Here I Am” is the title of a wonderful new book by Jonathan Safran Foer, a monumental work close to 1000 pages, exploring themes of cultural identity, fidelity and betrayal, the ephemeral nature of love, families functional and dysfunctional, and what makes them so. As for me myself and I, this post is in the nature of an apology to you, my readers, for my untoward absence. SInce I last posted back in April, life has overtaken me. There’s been illness, convalescence, slow recovery, as well as the joys of grandchildrens’ birthdays. and celebrations of their achievements, some sojourns in beautiful Darwin, home of my daughters and grandsons, and the minutiae of everyday life. On the writing side, I’ve been hard  at work on my new novel, ‘A Difficult Daughter’, and preparing my first novel. ‘Capriccio’, for publication. This entailed a major rewrite, mostly in appeasement to Faber and Faber, publishers of the works of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, and the Hughes Estate. Like Jonathan Bate, I fell foul of the Estate when requesting permission to quote thirteen lines of Hughes’s poetry, fully expecting dispensation for such a small amount of material. The lines I quoted were used to introduce chapters, each of which was given the title of one of the ‘Capriccio’ poems […]

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Kabbalah and the Seventh Heaven

I’ve had the privilege recently of attending a course on the ancient texts of the Kabbalah, presented by Rabbi Dr. Orna Triguboff. These mystical teachings have long been a fascination of mine, particularly after I discovered, while researching  my novel ‘Capriccio’, about  the poet Ted Hughes, that he drew  inspiration and poetic imagery from the texts of Kabbalah. Our talks with Rabbi […]

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The torment of Ted Hughes

This review by Mark Ford of ‘Ted Hughes: the Unauthorised Life’ by Jonathan Bates, gives an interesting slant on Bate’s book, and echoes much of the portrayal of Hughes’s remorse in my novel: ‘Capriccio: the Haunting of Sylvia Plath.‘  In March 1969 Assia gassed both herself and her four-year-old daughter by Hughes, Shura, in her flat in Clapham. She had grown tired of sharing Hughes with his two women down in Devon, Brenda Hedden (a social worker) and Carol Orchard, a local farmer’s daughter and nurse, who would become his second wife. Hughes did, on occasion, explicitly question the implications of his … behaviour in his private journal, noting, for instance, of this particular erotic triangle: ‘3 beautiful women – all in love, and a separate life of joy visible with each, all possessed – but own soul lost.’ The sorrows of the polygamist … As the errant poet struggled to manage his handily alphabetised commitments to A, B and C, as he referred to them in his journal, Assia battled with the complexities of the situation in which she found herself after Plath’s suicide.   Although less jealous and possessive than Plath, Assia had her own moments of despair and fury: in a will she made in April 1968 she left to Hughes only ‘my no doubt welcome absence and my bitter contempt.’  Hughes’s ‘The Error’, from the suite of Assia poems collected in Capriccio (1990), presents her subsequent death as almost […]

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