Sunday, July 29, 2018

Gabriel Tallent

Gabriel Tallent is the author of My Absolute Darling.

From his Q&A with Alison Flood for the Guardian:

You’re talking about painful scenes in the book. Were they hard to write and did you feel a responsibility to get it right, to tread the line between exploitation and honesty?

People talk about treading that line, but that’s not a real thing, that doesn’t make sense, no such line appears. It’s not as if the more truthful you become the more closely you approach exploitation. That doesn’t seem to be true about writing. Look, in college, I studied cultural history of the 18th century. These concerns grow up with the English novel. The questions of compassion and exploitation are central to the very origins of the novel. The problems presented by rendering a moral predicament are immensely close to my heart and knit into my entire intellectual history.

It’s frustrating to come from an academic background and to see those problems handled in ignorant and ham-fisted and short-sighted ways when these are immensely complex problems. But because of this fucked-up world we live in, you’re always caught in this predicament, whenever you try and render the predicament of harm whenever you try and render those stakes, you run these risks. But the risks seem clearly worth it, because what is the alternative? The alternative is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue