5 January 2010
"So perhaps: in order to write a novel, you need to be able to lie."
I love this quote. Because it draws attention to the leap of the imagination that I believe writer AND reader must be ready to undertake in order to produce and consume a work of literature.
"One day I read four lines in a newspaper - a mother took her two children to a funfair, bought them some chips and then murdered them. I was shocked. I didn't understand. The funfair and chips meant love. The murder meant hate. I couldn't let go of that thought until I realized that this mother actually loved her children but her love was a form of madness. So I decided to write this story because I wanted to reveal the inhumanity within us humans." (Veronique Olmi)
Literature is meant to fill in the gaps that facts leave. But to do that, we need to leave these facts behind and use our imagination. We enter a “fantasy world” or “lie” like a small child who strays from the factual truth.
When I asked Veronique Olmi, Peirene’s French author, why she wrote “Beside the Sea” and she gave me her answer, I was delighted. Those few sentences express exactly Peirene’s belief of what literature ought to be: a glimpse of the inexplicable, an attempt to open little windows of light into the unfathomable.
Needless to say – but I say it anyway – my nymph and I are totally and absolutely looking forward to 2010. Our launch year. “Beside the Sea” will be out beginning of February, “Stone in a Landslide” in April, and “Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman” in June. And that’s not all. A bizarre, absolutely fantastic collection of Austrian, Kafkaesque short stories and a Dutch, Heminghwayesque novel about two men on their way to the bull run in Pamplona are already in the pipe-line. And in case all of these books don’t give you enough food for thought and the imagination, then come to the Peirene Literary Salon. Veronique Olmi will be our guest on February 6th and the English writer Sarah Hall on a date in May.
A Happy and Successful 2010 to you all.