The protagonist Bilgewater (her real name is Marigold Green) of Jane Gardam’s Bilgewater is possibly my favourite fictional adolescent. She’s simultaneously very clever and incredibly bad at everyday life. I love Jane Gardam’s adult books because they are snide and black-humoured and sharp as hell. Bilgewater is all these things but flooded with extra vehemence and messy emotions. It’s ridiculous and absurd and intense (Pierrots! A boy named Terrapin! A smorgasbord of terrible parents!) but it feels true.
We asked our authors to write about a well-loved book, which they think more people should read.
Shalini Srinivasan has written many comics and a few books. Her Duckbill book is Vanamala and the Cephalopod, which features a sister-selling protagonist, a cephalopod and many other sea creatures.