Monday, June 26, 2017

Jonathan Levi

Jonathan Levi's latest novel is Septimania. From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You've said that you first heard about the historical Kingdom of Septimania--which Charlemagne gave the Jews of Southern France--in the late 1970s. Did you think at the time that you'd end up writing a novel about it?

A: In the late 1970s, I was working on bringing out the first issue of Granta. Although I was writing plays, the idea of writing a novel—especially since I was editing extraordinary writers at the time—was far from my mind.

The historical Kingdom of Septimania seemed more a part of the fabric of an England woven at the time by Monty Python, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and a House of Lords that debated the existence of the Loch Ness Monster while the country was paralyzed by a transportation strike.

It was only 20 years later that my memory of Septimania joined with my desire to write something about the search for origins, and I thought—hey, there might be a novel here.

Q: The book includes a variety of locations and time periods--did you need to do much research to write this, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?

A: A large amount of library research, and many conversations with historians and others went into the conception of Septimania. But most of it...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue