Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sophie McManus

Sophie McManus's new book is The Unfortunates.

From a Q & A at her publisher's website:

Is there a book you consider an ancestor of The Unfortunates?

I happened upon Virginia Woolf’s essay “On Being Ill” after recovering from a long illness. I could not admit to myself that I needed to read or think about illness; I’d spend a year trying not to. I told myself I’d only picked up the essay by coincidence and that I would write a short response simply as an hour’s exercise, an experiment with language. I took Woolf’s suggestion, that prose is inadequate at capturing the experience of illness, as a challenge. Woolf says illness can’t be written? I can do it. What youthful arrogance! I wrote a woman lying in a bed, looking out a window. I failed to convey any of what illness is like—to be taken out of the world yet feel the world more vividly, to be taken out of the body yet be nothing but body, to fall away from the mind and into the mind, all at once. Woolf was right. (Of course Woolf was right.) But I kept trying, and ten years went by. A novel emerged. I had no plan to write a book, and no idea that one evening with Woolf would lead to this very moment, and really to a whole life I wasn’t expecting to lead.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

If a book is going to makes me cry, it’s usually on the second-to-last page. But Making Nice by Matthew Sumell did it on page seventeen. It was only last week—I was on a crowded New York City subway, holding the bar with one hand and the book with the other, making that...[read on]
Visit Sophie McManus's website.

--Marshal Zeringue