Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blake Butler Interviews Vanessa Place at HTMLGIANT








This is so good. This is the kind of interview I aspire to. Blake asks Vanessa Place about her massive book (novel?) La Medusa, which was published last year by FC2. Both sides of this interview are fascinating. Here are Blake's opening questions:

BB: (a) I’d like to open our discussion of La Medusa by asking about its birth in you, as an idea. Over the span of its 500 pages, the text manages to worm through quite an insanely number of shells and forms, I believe I read somewhere that you worked on La Medusa for quite a number of years, so I am particularly interested in how the shape of the book continued to evolve and expand within itself as you found yourself deeper in the pages.

(b) What I find really interesting, is that among this huge sprawl, too, is that the bulk of the narrative consists of a set of interwoven strands that focus on the main ‘camps’, if you will, of the discourse, which are in a way defined in the very first sentences of the book:

“Doctor Casper Bowles eyes his mirror’d visor.
Feena checks her pink Barbie mirror
while Athalie her mother looks at her own hand.
Jorge can’t see for shit ‘cuz of the sun,
And the golden-bellied woman stands blind as a proverbial bat.
Then there’s me, flattened & weeping in one hundred and one windows”

These strands are attended to so fervently, and with great poise, so that often it seems like some scenes in the book that may occur over a short period in the timeline of the narrative, actually sprawl out as if minute by minute, almost in the way that David Foster Wallace managed to capture time as time in ‘Infinite Jest,’ and also how Gass used language to define space in ‘The Tunnel.’ I was wondering if you could speak more about directing the complex trajectories of each of these narratives over time and perhaps some of the process involved in how the evolving form dictated content and vice-versa.


Read on and pay attention as your brain muscles ripple and sag.

3 comments:

BLAKE BUTLER said...

thanks again josh, very kind... so will i finally get to meet you when i am in town in ann arbor next month??

BlogSloth said...

I got a bit enmeshed in her answer, flung, and will read on.

S

BlogSloth said...

Blake's question was kinds lame.