Thursday, October 10, 2019

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett's newest novel is The Dutch House. From her Q&A with Hannah Beckerman at the Guardian:

The protagonists in The Dutch House become obsessed with their childhood home after they’re turfed out by their stepmother. Do you think people too often get fixated on the past?

So many people just get stuck in their childhood and shoulder that burden through everything. It becomes their defining feature in life. Danny and Maeve [the novel’s main characters] chew on their loss of the house: they make it a fetish. I see people doing that and I just think, You can’t still be feeling this loss. You’ve made this your hobby.

Property is both a sanctuary and a burden in the novel. Was that something you set out to explore?

I hadn’t consciously set out to explore that and yet the further along I went the more I could see it and the more I could think about the burden of things. I am somebody who feels the burden of things. I think I would have made a swell nun.

The novel is also about memory: whether we can only ever view the past through the prism of the present. Do you think memory is ultimately unreliable?

Yes, I think that memory is almost a living thing for every person. I was in downtown New York on September 11 with a friend and...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue