Faulkner is certainly one of those writers whose thoughts of home colored his entire oeuvre. Most of the writer’s novels and stories take place in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. He was known to call the place ‘my apocryphal county’–and yet this creation of the author’s is a simulacrum of the county in which he grew up and lived the majority of his life: Lafayette County.
The past can be a gloriously fertile place for authors: the sparser the facts, the more space there is for fiction to grow and thrive. As Hilary Mantel puts it, ‘the imagination can suggest what’s erased’, while WG Sebald speaks of the desire to ‘fill in the gaps and blank spaces and create out of this a meaning which is greater that that which you can prove.’ The Miniaturist, a novel with a mystery at its heart, makes enthusiastic use of the ‘blank spaces’ of seventeenth-century mercantile Amsterdam in its story of eighteen-year-old Nella Brandt.
Immediately, the tension that works so well throughout the novel is established: just like the waxing and waning of the tides that dictate life on the water, Zentner teases out a back and forth in the narrative that makes for an endlessly salacious read.
“A lot of the women of course are overlooked. You have ruth weiss—she was just here a few days ago. She was the first person to get up and start reading her poetry to jazz; she did that before Kerouac did it in New York. Diane di Prima. Denise Levertov. Unfortunately, the women didn’t get published like the men did.”
A new review of books focused on debuts, translations, and all works that would otherwise go undetected. It is a collaborative of authors, translators, and reviewers bound by one purpose: to contribute to the dialogue of literature.