Moira Crone is the author of several novels and story collections including What Gets Into Us and A Period of Confinement; her works have appeared in Oxford American, The New Yorker, Image, Mademoiselle, and over forty other journals and twelve anthologies. She has won prizes for her stories and novellas, and in 2009 she was given the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for the entire body of her work.
Her latest novel is The Not Yet.
From Crone's Q & A with Bill Lavender at Southern Literary Review:
BILL LAVENDER: What does [The Not Yet] have and have not to do with New Orleans?Learn more about the book and author at Moira Crone's website and the Facebook page for The Not Yet.
MOIRA CRONE: When I first started writing the book in the 1990’s, I set it in New Orleans because I live here, and because it began with a dream that was set here—a strange dream of a young man sitting in a nightclub on Magazine Street, talking to a woman who looked young, but a little voice told me she was actually over two hundred years old. I woke up and started writing. Who was this fellow? Where did he come from? What was this world he lived in? What was his childhood? What future was this? I had read the geological maps, and I knew that with sea level rise, in a hundred years, New Orleans was supposed to be flooded, islands—at least that was the projection at that time. I wrote and published a good portion of this book before Katrina. Those scenes of the flooded city were written before I saw them on the TV screen—spooky, and true.
A book like this with a number of different themes—such as the questions around extreme longevity, or the consequences of having a huge gap between rich and poor, or the need to sacrifice for love—could have been set anywhere, but I chose to set it here, where I dreamed it, because I think New Orleans holds the burden and the treasure of the American soul—it carries something deep, takes the place of the underworld in the nation’s mind. But the underworld is two places: the place where souls go, and the place where souls come from. Rebirth, as well as death.
In people’s minds, when they think of America, New Orleans holds both the best and the worst images—and at the same time. It is out of step, in another time, a different realm. Darker, and brighter.
So, when the rest of the nation has become a single-focused nightmare where the rich live forever with mindless intensity, New Orleans “drops out.” It’s not going there.
And my character, Malcolm, sees the world from that point of view.
Our city, in the novel, is at the edge of an Empire that insists there is only one kind of happiness, and the material is the only reality. My New Orleans characters don’t follow the rules either, don’t buy the usual soap—they make their own lives, believe their own myths.
As I was writing, I discovered that Malcolm, who was trained from earliest childhood to claim that material immortality for himself, might side with the outside, with the fringe. New Orleans became a place where he could choose, or see the way to choose. This is set in New Orleans, but it is about...[read on]
Writers Read: Moira Crone.
My Book, The Movie: The Not Yet.