Jane Alison is the author of the new book Nine Island. From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: You said in an interview with UVA Today that you've "grown impatient with so-called distinctions among genres that, in truth, overlap so much," and you've defined Nine Island as a nonfiction novel. How does it incorporate elements of each genre?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I began writing Nine Island after writing three novels and a memoir, as well as having translated portions of Ovid's poetry. I wanted the new project to have almost as much truth as memoir but also the flexibility and flights of fiction and the music (and even line-breaks) of poetry.
Almost all the incidents in the book, as well as the figures and places, are drawn closely from life. I did compress time, though.
Q: Like you, your protagonist J writes about Ovid. What are some of the connections between Ovid's work and J's life in present-day Miami?
A: J is contemplating life-changes: her mother's declining body, her poor old cat's deafness and blindness, the grounding of a duck, and her own slide into late-ish middle age, with her decision that it might be time to retire from love. That is: gently extinguish her erotic self. She's thinking about...[read on]