Mention of Bernice Rubens over on the Mostly Books blog (from that bookshop to die for in lucky old Abingdon) reminds me that I may not have mentioned her recently on here and that is most remiss of me.
I was fortunate enough to book in for a Reader's Day at the Ways With Words LitFest a few years ago and ended up in a small group with Bernice Rubens to discuss her then most recent book Nine Lives.
We had a very lively session, she was shrewd, fiesty, clear-thinking, did not mince her words and I was completely taken with her.She shared so much of her life philosophy, very unassuming, none of the prima donna about her that I could detect, but by crikey did she call a spade a spade.
If you've read Nine Lives you will know the book is about the serial murder of a succession of psychotherapists.One of us asked the obvious question "do you have a problem with them?" and she proceeded to elaborate on that in no uncertain terms. Clearly she had used the book to convey her own concerns and that starts you thinking what a therapy that must be in itself for any writer. Forget hidden ideology about which the author is completely unware, Bernice Rubens knew exactly the fate she wished on all psychotherapists and declared it loud and clear from every page of this book.
On asking her which of her own books she was most proud of she replied without a moment's hesitation "Brothers, if you only ever read one of mine please make it that one". I did read it and with a profound sense of understanding.
Sadly Bernice Rubens died two months later so this may well have been one of her last literary events.It was a memorable, never to be forgotten day and every time I pick up one of her books I feel as if I know her.
Mark over at Mostly Books expresses the concern that these books may end up going out of print which would be tragic, fortunately I have a good stock as I've been accumulating Bernice Rubens for quite some time, so I'm OK. I do hope the rest of you are because these really are treasures and like Mark, I think it would be very sad if she was somehow forgotten.