Monday, December 9, 2019

Niall Williams

Niall Williams's new novel is This Is Happiness.

From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for This Is Happiness, and for your character Noel Crowe?

A: I never know where an idea comes from. I generally only start with a sentence, and see where that leads.

But, having moved with my wife Christine to the west of Ireland in the mid-1980s—an account of which became the first of our four non-fiction books, O Come Ye Back, published in New York by Soho Press—I was struck by the fact that people could remember The Day the Electricity Came.

And this seemed to me a threshold time in Irish life, when, halfway into the 20th century, the west of Ireland was still living in the 19th.

Q: The novel features your protagonist as an older man looking back at himself at 17. Why did you decide to structure the book that way?

A: I didn’t want to write a “historical” or period novel as such, by just setting it in the ‘50s.

I think many of us also have a time in our youth, maybe a very brief time like a summer or a few weeks when we...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue