A WRONGED GENERAL seeks revenge. From his home in Sussex, Englan d,
A backwoods woman struggles to communi- Nicholson discusses with The Connection
cate. A reclusive author learns to love. A cynical subjects ranging from politics and the lost
young man spirals into a world of art of conversation to his long
terrorismandintrigue. love of writing and his more
Although these characters and recent discoveries of love as a hus-story lines could not be more dispa- band and father.
rate, a theme runs through author
Nicholson explores life, love,
death and the society within us
By T. Foster Jones
COSTCO HAS 10 autographed
copies of William Nicholson’s
The Society of Others to give
away. To enter, print your
name, membership number,
address and daytime phone
number on a postcard or
letter and send it to: The
Society of Others, The
Costco Connection, P.O.
Box 34088, Seattle, WA
98124-1088; or fax it to (425) 313-6718.
No purchase is necessary. Entries
must be received or postmarked by
midnight, February 3, 2006. Void
where prohibited. Employees of
Costco and their families are not eligible. Winners will be notified by mail.
One entry per household.
Send your feedback on this
month’s book to:
William Nicholson’s broad array of Costco Connection: What is it that
work. It is Nicholson himself. drives and motivates you as a writer?
Creator of award-winning William Nicholson: As a writer, I
screenplays such as Gladiator, Sha- feel very much like an explorer.
dowlands and Nell, numerous ac- That is what I like to do, explore
claimed BBC teleplays and stage understanding of our human
plays, a fantasy book series (The condition through stories. To try
Wind on Fire) and two novels (The William Nicholson to make sense of the unhappi-
Society of Others; The Trial of True ness, to understand better what to
Love), Nicholson invests a great measure of value, how to live, what’s real and true and CC: Whose personalities and perspectives are
his life into each story. lasting as opposed to the things that melt in represented in your stories’ characters?
Nicholson, 56, uses these works not only your hand. WN: The person I use most in creating char-to observe the world around him but also to If I’m going to go through all the pain acters is myself. I have many different types of
explore the multiple facets of his own growth and sweat, and the reader is too, I want to feel people inside me—so do you—so does every-as a person and an artist, integrating many of that there’s some real meat to the story, I want body. I’m shy and I’m confident. I’m gorgeous
his own lessons in the process. them to feel nourished by the experience. and I’m hideous. I’m young and I’m old. I’m
In examining himself, Nicholson exam- male and I’m female.
ines us all, constructing literary environments CC: Your writing celebrates painting, poetry
very much like those we live in and allowing and music. What is their importance to you? CC: What is the message of your latest book,
us to learn along with his characters. WN: Art, poetry and music are the milestones The Society of Others?
It is perhaps because of this interest in of the human spirit. Other people, through- WN: The message is the miracle of the ordi-understanding the world and his place within out the generations, are tackling exactly the nary. A young man is forced through some
it that Nicholson, nominated for Oscar, Emmy, same puzzle we are from different time peri- intense experiences and finds that life is in
Tony, Golden Globe and Ace awards, remains ods. That’s why art matters. It’s a report from fact miraculously wonderful. Ordinariness is
remarkably accessible and down-to-earth. the war zone that we’re all in. a treasure chest.
I LOVE A BOOK that can keep me delightfully
off balance with its inventiveness, yet remain
personally compelling as it grapples with real
issues I can identify with. This month’s Book
Pick, The Society of Others, is just such a rare
and enjoyable combination.
Author William Nicholson starts us off
in a world grounded in reality, seen through
the eyes of an unnamed 20-something young
man already tired with life, who wraps his
cynicism with a wry humor and disdain for the
folly of humanity.
Pennie Clark Ianniciello
Costco Book Buyer
Setting off on a hitchhiking trip to nowhere
in particular, the man is caught up in a series of
increasingly dramatic events, each one tearing him
further from his cynical moorings and teaching
him—in a style that becomes almost Kafka-esque—
what he has hidden from himself his entire life. C
CC: Current events are woven into your stories.
What’s your take on the state of the world today?
WN: I think we are in a period of remarkable
opportunity and hope. I believe that the extremists will wither. At the end of the day, what they
have to offer is not wanted by most people.
I am a really profound believer in the survival of human goodness. We have to keep on
championing this rather unglamorous view that
people can be kind to one another.
CC: Why does the narrator in The Society of
Others remain unnamed?
WN: The fact that he remains unnamed is a
deliberate invitation to readers to accept this
journey as their own.
CC: Was it difficult to write from the perspective
of a 20-year-old?
WN: This was a very conscious decision to try