Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson is the author of three internationally published novels (A History of Forgetting, Sitting Practice, The Sky Is Falling), two collections of short stories (Bad Imaginings, Pleased To Meet You), as well as several books for young people. Her work has also received numerous prize nominations including the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. A two time Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and three-time CBC Literary Award winner, Caroline lives in Vancouver.

From her Q & A with Eva Stachniak:

E. S: Jane Zwierzchowski, or Jane Z, the heroine of The Sky is Falling, is a peace activist in 1980s Vancouver. Her involvement with the peace movement is the focus of many interviews and reviews your novel has generated, but I want to ask you about the Zwierzchowski connection. Why did you chose a daughter of a Polish immigrant as a heroine of your novel? And why is she studying Russian?

C. A.: At the start of The Sky Is Falling, Jane is an outsider in a house full of committed peace activists. She is utterly apolitical during what was a very political time. I felt there had to be something in her background that made her so disinterested, or at least reluctant to get involved. Immediately I understood that it was because of her family background. As an immigrant from Poland, her father would be naturally distrustful of the peace movement which was often accused (not altogether without reason) for being soft on communism, or even pro-communist. He also has a temper (not necessarily a Polish trait!), which makes both Jane and her mother reluctant to rile him up. However, it is the very fact of her having an “unpronounceable” Polish last name that eventually gets her accepted into the group of activists; because she is studying Russian and Russian literature, they think she is Russian and find her much more interesting for the mistake.

There is also a level of irony added to the novel because of her half-Polishness. Jane in the present time sections of the novel (2004), looks back on her youth with some dismay. At 19, she thought she could stop World War 3 from happening, yet she...[read on]
Visit Caroline Adderson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sky Is Falling.

--Marshal Zeringue