Book Talk: Nigel Farndale tests commitment to life

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:56am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Faced with a life-threatening situation, would you leave behind a loved one to save yourself?

This question fascinated British writer and journalist Nigel Farndale for about 25 years, ever since he heard of an acquaintance who had scrambled over his girlfriend, leaving her behind, after their car crashed into a canal in France.

While both survived the accident, the couple broke up soon afterwards. The girl could not forgive her boyfriend.

Farndale said this story haunted him and was the basis for his new novel, "The Blasphemer," released in the United States this month, which tackles themes of loyalty, love, and faith with the story of a plane-crash survivor intertwined with that of a World War One deserter.

Farndale, 46, who has written one other novel, two biographies and published a collection of interviews, spoke to Reuters about his writing:

Q: What fascinated you about this story?

A: "It was one of those stories among a circle of friends that we talked about a lot at the time. You wonder what you would do in the same circumstances. If you are honest, even someone who considers themselves brave, you don't know until it happens to you. There aren't many circumstances in which you are tested like this if you are not of the age when you had to fight in a war. That is where the war theme came in."

Q: Why did it take so long to get to paper?   Continued...