Gillian Tindall Biography
(1938– ), No Name in the Street, The Youngest, Someone Else, Fly Away Home, Number One
British novelist and freelance writer, born in London, educated at Oxford University. Tindall's wide-ranging output has included journalism, translation, history, literary criticism, and biography. Her first novel, No Name in the Street, appeared in 1959. The Youngest (1967), Someone Else (1969), and Fly Away Home (1971) deal with the educated woman's journey towards self-knowledge. Violent, sudden, or anticipated death provides the point of departure in her fiction, initiating a probing reassessment of the apparently familiar. In 1964 Tindall translated René Masson's Number One, a fictionalized study of the mass murderer Henri Landru, and her novels return continually to the thin line between the ‘normal’ and the ‘criminal’. In The Youngest, a mother kills her malformed child; in The Traveller and His Child (1975), a divorced father abducts a substitute son. The theme finds its most concentrated exploration in Give Them All My Love (1989), the confessional narrative of a middle-aged man in prison for murder. Spirit Weddings (1992), set in a fictional Far Eastern country which has experienced a variety of cultural and political regimes, enquires whether character is predetermined or shaped by events. In Celestine: Voices from a French Village (1995) she uses a cache of letters she found, dating from the 1800s, to piece together a woman's life and construct the social history of a village. She has also published Journey of a Lifetime and Other Stories (1990) and Countries of the Mind: The Meaning of Place to Writers (1991).