One of the fun things about writing a novel is that it takes you to places you would never have gone otherwise, and serves up some interesting reading experiences.
While I was writing Landscape I found myself gravitating towards books about maps and spotted Intimate Cartographies by L. A. Alexander on the chucking out shelf at my local library. I had never heard of it but because it had the ‘Map of Matrimony’ (vaguely similar to the Carte de Tendre) on the back cover, I forked out my 50p and took it home.
It tells the story of a mother whose daughter was drowned in an accident in the Lake district. A map-maker by profession, the mother works out her giref by taking on a project to map the forest where her daughter died. Basically a tale of grief and catharsis, the heroine intersperses the narrative with descriptions of maps and landscapes of many different kinds. These descriptions while digressions, added depth to the narrative and rarely felt incongruous. They also helped break up the intensity of emotion that runs through the book.
All of it is beautifully written, and I liked it a lot, but maybe it was a bit unusual to be a best seller. (Or maybe it needed a catchier title!)
If you are interested in odd maps (and very odd maps) try the Strangemaps Blog.