Preeta Samarasan finds South African novelist Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat to be transformative. The story of an Afrikaner woman and the black servant who has worked for her for most of both their lives, Agaat examines relationships of race and power between the two women by employing a stunning combination of structural intricacy, stylistic range, and daring allegory.
Posts Tagged ‘structure’
How do we honor the dead? Carolyn Gan reviews Pushcart Prize-winning author Christie Hodgen’s Elegies for the Brokenhearted, which offers a fascinating answer to that question. The novel is comprised of five truly melancholy elegies that are anything but depressing.
Andrew Porter is the author of The Theory of Light and Matter, which won the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was recently republished by Vintage. Each one of these critically acclaimed stories is beautifully paced and plotted–a veritable nesting box–and full of lovely sentences you’ll want to read aloud just for the pleasure of it.
In this interview, Porter discusses how crafting stories is like editing film; what particular advantages peripheral narrators can afford; and why it’s “completely surreal” to hear actors read from your work.
“I’ve always felt personally and emotionally closer to the searchers, rather than to the finders…to those who don’t get answers, as opposed to those who do. For me, the experience of epiclitus is closely related to the experience of the uncanny, but also to the experience of complex and problematic emotions, like yearning, and awe, and psychic unease, which are of particular interest to me. That precipice of endless uncertainty, of the impenetrable—those are the moments that I’ve always loved in literature, as well as the moments that have haunted me in life.”