Monday, November 11, 2013

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison grew up in Los Angeles. Educated at Harvard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has also worked as an innkeeper in California, a schoolteacher in Nicaragua, and an office temp in Manhattan.

Jamison's debut novel is The Gin Closet. "Set in the late 60s," Caroline Leavitt writes, "it's about Tilly Rudolf, who is drinking herself to death in a trailer park. But then her niece Stella shows up and both their lives begin to be impacted. It's raw, graceful, and totally unforgettable...."

From Jamison's Q & A with Leavitt:

So much of the book is about Stella’s attempt to save Tilly. Do you think people can ever be saved?

Wow. Big question. Hard question. Great question. I do think people can be saved, but I think that saving is never permanent or final, and “saving” never works as a fully transitive verb. Which is to say: saving is always a process—always fragile, tenuous, a structure we daily construct rather than a destination we reach—and it’s not something one person can “do” to another; it must also involve coaxing or reawakening some self-saving impulse in the one being saved.

I’d also say—for the record—that my take on whether saving is possible, or how it might work, is pretty different now than when I wrote the book. Which is interesting for me to think about. I haven’t read the novel since before it was published—probably not for four years or so—and I’d be curious to feel my own reactions if I reread it. It might be a few more years before I’m ready to do that.

What surprised you in the writing of the book?

Well, certainly the fact that it ended up...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: The Gin Closet.

--Marshal Zeringue