Writers’ memories of childhood

In a glowing review of Erwin Mortier’s newly-translated My Fellow Skin, A.S. Byatt argues that the portrait of a Flemish Catholic childhood effectively records “the unspoken … with a paradoxical clarity and lucidity that make the silences between the little knots of information glitter.”

Byatt also considers more generally the childhood memories of writers:

I read somewhere that writers characteristically remember their early childhoods with unusual clarity. There was a suggestion that this quirk of the synapses might even make people into writers. You need to do something with importunate memories. The idea appealed to the writer in me, and is at the centre of the elegant, brief narratives of Erwin Mortier.

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