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Michelle de Crezer flips the novel: “My purpose was to play in form” | Book

Approximately 15 minutes after the conversation, Michelle de Kretser looks back at the interview head-on. What did you make “

The two Miles Franklin Award winners are on the verge of releasing her new book, the Scary Monster, and her anxiety is clear.

In some respects, it steps into a familiar territory: like de Kretser’s 1999 The Rose Grower, some of the books find her returning to France. At its heart is a powerful thread of immigrant stories, such as the 2012 Questions of Travel. Like The Life to Come, which was acclaimed in 2017, she plays with different protagonists and different interrelated stories. And there are dental dogs that are faithful to their shape, have deep affection and are suspicious.

But De Crezer is not a reliant on her glory. After all, this is also a book that turns things upside down. In fact, this is two books, one on each end and two covers.

The cover of a scary monster by Michelle de Crezer, who created two powerful and memorable voices and stories. Composite: Allen & Unwin

Unlike Ali Smith’s 2014 novel, How to Be Both, he used split printing to give readers both a cover and a starting point choice, but the support of DeKretser’s novelist practice is somewhat literal. is. You can read scary monsters. One cherry tree is drawn on the dark background of the cover. This is the story of Lili, a young Australian who lived in France in the early 80’s. You can also read Scary Monsters, which covers the explosion of whitened cherry blossoms, and chase Lyle to navigate middle-aged people in the widespread dystopian Australia in the near future.

Both versions come with publisher pages and epigraphs (Nietzsche: “The state is the coldest of all cold monsters”, Dubois: “How do you feel the problem?”). There are no clues from authors or publishers as to where to start.

“I wanted to do that quite early on,” says Decrezer. “This is a novel about emigration. Emigration is about turning things upside down, such as events and lives. So what about books that have to be turned upside down? This is my understatement that transforms the novel. It was the way … If the novel is a single continuous story, here’s a novel that isn’t. My purpose was to play with the form and mix it a bit. “

Talking to De Kretser is an exhilarating time, even through Zoom’s distant medium. She is always looking for ideas and worried. A deep thinker-thought-out, compassionate, cerebral yet compassionate-has a light touch and a fascinating warmth.

“So many places approached me to write about my pandemic experience, and after a while I gave a fixed reply:” I have only the mediocrity of the privileges I offer, “she said of Covid. It’s about enduring the blockage. “Do you know that you can’t get your favorite brand of pasta? Of course, I miss contact with friends and family, but on the other hand, I hesitate to complain about our lives at all. We have each other. We have a job. We have a garden. “

Michel de Crezer at her house
“I hesitate to complain about our closed life. We have each other. We have a job. We have a garden.” Photo: Joy Lai

This book is devastating and very interesting. Thinking separately or together, she created two powerful and memorable voices and stories. One is Montpelier in the past, full of fear, perceptions of violence against migrant women, youth uncertainty and the shadow of Europe. The other is a sterile, brightly lit near future on the outskirts of Australia, exploring recognizable inhuman governments, widespread consumerism, and domestic disappointment. In one passage, Lyle asks, “Which of the future or the past comes first?”

“Both these are stories of memory,” says Decrezer. “People look back at the event and narrate, and of course, the past is born only from a future perspective …

“And they are the story of migration. When you migrate the past, you are no longer a guide on how you should or capture the world, or how the world will capture you in the future. rice field.”

That’s what longtime fans of her work may and may expect: sad, angry, playful, and just as clever. Nonetheless, De Crezer confesses that he feels nervous about it and is worried about the idea that it is considered a “cheap bid to get attention.” It means that the reader may reject everything as a gimmick.

She features a new book by American cultural theorist Sianne Ngai, Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and the Capitalist Form. “The summary of her argument is tragic, but the point is that when we’re talking about an object we call a gimmick, it comes down to what we consider to be the value of an object. If so, if you don’t know if you should get it, does it improve our lives, or is it somehow in trouble?

“And when I was reading this, I thought: this is how immigrants work in society. We are gimmick citizens. Our value is always questioned. Will we strengthen Australia with diversity or undermine traditional Australian values? Will our spending and wages boost the economy or steal Australian jobs?

“According to Ngai, gimmicks have a non-genuine aura. We doubt that. This is the view of immigrants.” De Crezer sounds happy to establish this relationship. increase. “What is a better form than a gimmick for a novel that tells the story of immigrants?”

Scary Monsters Cherry Cover
Scary monster: catastrophic and very funny. Photo: Allen and Anwin

It’s hard to think of an author who is less likely to be recognized as a gimmick than Michel de Crezer. Her work has such an incredible completeness of purpose, generous and open, even when she dissects and prosecutes the injustices and injustices of the world. I told her this, and she blames: “I always had a great deal of trust in my readers.”

A scary monster by Michel de Crezer is out through Allen and Anwin on Tuesday, October 19th.

Michelle de Crezer flips the novel: “My purpose was to play in form” | Book

Source link Michelle de Crezer flips the novel: “My purpose was to play in form” | Book

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