This is How it Ends – London – Eva Dolan
Eva Dolan takes us in the heart and soul of London today. A soul which is being ripped out because of the many changes in housing and development. A soul changed for ever with the snake of gentrification. Her novel looks at the changing face of the city, of the people who live in its heart, who would live and die for their homes…
Introduce your new book please Eva!
This Is How It Ends is about two women who attempt to cover up a murder, only to find it reveals the rot at the heart of their friendship. Ella is a student activist and high profile blogger. Molly is her mentor, a veteran of Greenham Common and many protests since, she is now fighting alongside Ella to try and save her home as rapacious developers aim to evict her and a handful of remaining residents from a block of flats on the side of the Thames. It’s about female friendship and gentrification of our cities and what it demands of you to fight a power that seems too big to be brought down.
Why do you love crime fiction about dark social issues so much?
With every new book I think I’ll take a break from the dark stuff and write something fluffy and escapist. But I never do, because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to write a book per year and that momentum only holds as long as I feel like I’m writing about something important. And important subjects are always the dark ones, the social issues I feel are being ignored, or groups who are being targeted. The main attraction of crime fiction, for me, is that at its best it exposes parts of society which are usually hidden, it uncovers injustices and reveals big truths through more intimate narratives. I just can’t imagine writing anything else.
This book couldn’t have been set in any UK city apart from London. The themes of gentrification and grassroots protest needed to play out against the backdrop of rampant property speculation and grotesque dodgy dealing which are happening there more insistently than anywhere else. (It is happening in other cities of course but in London the process is supercharged.) The story wouldn’t have felt anchored anywhere else. Ironically, when this huge and fascinating new location opened up to me I retreated to a tight cluster of interior settings, because This Is How It Ends is a book about home and how it feels to lose the only settled one you’ve ever had. Molly’s London is not tourist London, hers is being bulldozed and redeveloped at a dizzying pace, and as that happens she’s being constantly pushed back and corralled into the rooms of her condemned flat, looking out at her affluent new neighbours and waiting for the wrecking ball to come for her.
Evoking the five senses into a scene
It’s quite an instinctive thing. I don’t really think about what I’m writing on a sentence by sentence basis and I suppose that’s because I’ve thought a lot about the book before I start it and a lot of those tiny decisions have already been made. I think writers are permanently switched-on people, probably over-stimulated, definitely too observant for our good, and writing with all five senses springs naturally from being that personality type. The sense which seems to get overlooked most now is touch, maybe because it’s unfashionable to write busy prose but I definitely feel like I read less description of texture in new books. Also it’s so easy to lapse into cliché with smell – all the good men smell like soap! It’s important to spot those tired descriptions and make them fresher. (There is so going to be a soapy smelling man I’ve missed in This Is How It Ends.)
Something surprising you found during research?
There are lots of things I would love to share but can’t because I don’t want to risk spoilers. But one fascinating nugget was that mudlarking is illegal around Vauxhall Bridge due to its proximity to the MI6 building. You can go for a poke about on the river bank anywhere else in London, but not there. It makes you wonder what they’re throwing out of the windows…
Many thanks Eva for this fascinating tour around your London!
BookTrail Boarding Pass: This is How it Ends