Friday, April 25, 2014

Johanna Lane

Johanna Lane was brought up in Ireland, studied English Literature at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and Creative Writing at Columbia's MFA program. Her forthcoming debut novel is Black Lake.

From Lane's Q & A with Anne Goodwin:

One of the themes of Black Lake is attachment to place, manifest in both the narrative and in your evocative description of the house and surrounding countryside. What drew you to this theme and the landscape of rural Donegal in particular?

When I was a baby, my parents bought a cottage in Donegal, so I spent all my summers there as a child. To me, it’s the most beautiful place on earth; the sky, the mountains, the sea, even the colours of the grasses in winter. The landscape is always changing, often quite dramatically.

Life at Dulough could hardly be more different to Celtic-Tiger era Dublin. Do you feel particularly attuned to the conflict between tradition and modernity?

I see tradition as quite a negative force when it comes to Ireland. In Black Lake, John embodies tradition, and it’s his modus operandi that causes such terrible problems for his family. On the other hand, his wife Marianne embodies modernity; she’s the necessary counter to his traditionalism. On a broader scale, Ireland’s great traditions are well known and much lauded, but I see it as a country whose traditionalism is in danger of choking it, especially when it comes to social and religious questions.

What made you decide to relate the story from the point of view of each member of the family? Was it tricky to write from four different perspectives?

Black Lake was the first novel I tried to write, and honestly, I think it just seemed too daunting to sustain a whole book from one character’s perspective. That said, I...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue