Monday, July 12, 2010

Reality Shifts

In association with the long-awaited release today of Tana French’s third novel about the Dublin murder squad, Faithful Place (Viking), the blog Art & Literature has posted a short but rather good interview with the author, conducted by Tara Laskowski. One of the most interesting parts of their exchange comes right at the beginning:
Tara Laskowski: I really love how you take a different character to focus on in each of your books, rather than writing multiple novels about the same hero or heroine. Can you talk a little about why you choose to write this way, and how it works for you?

Tana French: I’m interested in writing about the huge turning points--those moments when you know that, whatever you choose, all the rest of your life will be shaped by that choice. The thing is, though, that most people’s lives don’t hold more than, say, two or three of those moments. So when I started to think about a second book, I realized I had three options. I could go with the usual series pattern, which follows one protagonist through the ups and downs of his or her life--but, while I love reading those series, the idea of writing one somehow felt anticlimactic. I could keep dumping my poor narrator into enormous, high-stakes, life-changing situations, which felt pretty strained and artificial. Or I could switch narrators. Switching narrators seemed to make the most sense.

Also, I’ve always been fascinated by the way that reality shifts when it’s seen through different eyes. It’s like the view through a kaleidoscope--the same pieces can add up to totally different things. Switching narrators means that I get to explore that. I haven’t done that in as much depth as I’d like to someday, but in The Likeness, for example, it becomes clear that Cassie’s experience of the events around In the Woods wasn’t exactly the same as Rob’s.
You can read the whole piece here.

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