Wilcox, Diaz, Winterson

Why, look at that! James Wilcox has written a novel about my family. It’s called Heavenly Days. I’ve placed my order. (Thanks to A for the link.)

A kind reader forwards a Boston Globe interview with Junot Diaz published earlier this year that explains the reasons his novel hasn’t yet hit the shelves. (Unfortunately, the piece does not seem to be available online, except through the pay-per-story archives.) Here’s an excerpt:

“I don’t know what’s happened,” Diaz, 34, says bluntly. “It’s as if my writing has fallen off the cliff. I’m not rehabilitated yet.”

Though he’s produced a smattering of short stories since signing the
book contract, Diaz has been wrestling with his muse ever since the media
blitz triggered by the publication of “Drown.” “I can’t write,” he glumly
told the Houston Chronicle in 1996. “I don’t feel natural anymore.”

Writer’s block permeates the first sentence of his introduction to “The Beacon Best of 2001,” a short-story anthology he guest edited: “For the last couple of years I – a former five-pages-a-day type guy – have not been able to write with any consistency.”

(Secret note to those of who’ve written to say they don’t like Diaz’s collection and have taken me to task for praising it: uh, maybe you shouldn’t listen to my recommendations from now on.)

In a profile of the Jeanette Winterson, Helen Brown says that “Nothing in the cool fervour of Jeanette Winterson’s prose quite prepares you for the warm breadth of her laughter.” A bit about Winterson’s take on endings:

Although her adult books gleefully subvert the storytelling tradition – she tangles fiction with fact, science with art, women with other women – Winterson hopes that she “is not at such a place ideologically where the ending can’t be happy, where the king can’t marry the washerwoman”. She believes that there are three endings to any story: revenge, tragedy and forgiveness. Forgiveness is the one she likes best, particularly if it comes from an individual, rather than from society. For she is suspicious of mass movements, mass influences….

Winterson’s faith in salvation may have its roots in her religious upbringing: “Sermons have to end with somebody saved.”


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