Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Marilyn Sides, author of The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife and Other Tales and The Genius of Affection, talked with Margaret Cezair-Thompson about Cezair-Thompson' novel, The Pirate's Daughter.

From publisher's website:

Marilyn Sides: As a close friend, I watched you over the last seven years labor mightily to bring forth this new novel, The Pirate's Daughter, at the same time you were raising, as a single mother, your son, Ben, and teaching at Wellesley College full time. What gets a novelist through those many late nights and hours stolen from the pressing responsibilities of ordinary life? What keeps the dream of a novel intact until it becomes a realized fact?

Margaret Cezair-Thompson: Very strong coffee. But truthfully, there’s a lot at stake: it’s not only about keeping the dream of the novel alive but the dream of being a writer.

MS: In your first novel, The True History of Paradise (Dutton 1999), Jean Landing's story is set in 1980's post-independence Jamaica, during the violent "state-of-emergency," but throughout the novel Jean hears the voices of ancestors whispering to her across three centuries. In The Pirate's Daughter you concentrate on the late 1940s to the late 1970s, three decades that begin with the post World War II bustle and international glamour of colonial Jamaica and that end during the political unrest which fills THP. Why did you come back to for an up-close look at this particular period?

Margaret Cezair-Thompson: Well, like many writers, I’m attracted to what seems like a vanished or vanishing era. I heard a lot about the forties and fifties from my parents. It was a remarkable period for Jamaica in terms of its developing a sense of itself as a nation, yet...[read on]
Read the complete conversation.

The Page 69 Test: The Pirate's Daughter.

--Marshal Zeringue