March 3rd, 2013
Episode 358 of 431 episodes
Andrew Miller discusses his novel Pure, winner of the 2011 Costa Prize. Set in pre-revolutionary Paris, the book is a gripping, earthy story about the clearing of a huge cemetery in the area now known as Les Halles. When a young engineer Jean-Baptiste Baratte arrives in Paris from Normandy, he is charged with the huge task of destroying the church and cemetery of Les Innocents in 1785. He is surrounded by a fully fledged cast of characters : LeCoeur, his friend and former colleague from the mines near Belgium, his girlfriend, the prostitute Heloise, Armand, the church's organist and a revolutionary, and the fairytale like Jeanne. But just as significant to the novel's success are the ideas of the Enlightenment and Miller's subtle laying out the undercurrents of disquiet and unrest which would eventually lead to bloodshed and revolution. James Naughtie presents and a group of readers ask the questions. April's Bookclub choice : The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. Produced by Dymphna Flynn.