Interview in Celtic Life International
Celtic Life International, a magazine about which I know virtually nothing, kindly interviewed me recently and the interview is up on their site now. It will appear along with a review of Malarky in the Fall edition of their magazine.
I’ll excerpt two questions from the interview here and you can read the entire thing in a link at the end should you wish.
What was the most challenging aspect of the process?
Finding the right form. My form. Breaking with the conventional forms of linear, chronological or and past/present shifts in narrative. I wanted to write a novel that challenged. I am ambitious for the novel as a reader and I want to contribute to that as a writer. I created a rotating point of view that would give the reader a whole woman and I employed devices such as the use of Our Woman, so the reader would feel some possession over her. I also wanted a singular focus on Philomena that would be unremitting in its attention to one ordinary woman. It was very demanding. In the novel I also address the effect that grief has on time and memory; in order to replicate this it was necessary to a fragmented approach. But the hardest part in some ways was the sadness of her situation. I became very attached to Philomena. I still feel weepy if I think of her at that moment in the shop when she breaks down or even stuck out on the mountain when she falls over. Though that part of the narrative is fairly ripe with humour.
What are your thoughts on Canadian literature today?
We are living in an exciting time for Canadian literature. But we need to be mindful to push the boundaries of the novel and not just settle for the middle-brow. We also need to pay much more attention as readers to our poetry. Some of the most dynamic work in the country is taking place in poetic forms. Likewise critical writing needs our attention both as writers and readers.