Trevor Corkum: Out of Mind is the companion book to your earlier novel The Matter with Morris. This latest offering takes us fifteen years into the future and is told from the perspective of Morris’s ex-wife Lucille. Why did you want to jump back into this story?
David Bergen: When I wrote The Matter with Morris, I had no intention of years later writing about Morris’s former wife, Lucille Black. But then, two years ago, I was casting about for a new story, and a new character (as novelists tend to do), and I thought of Lucille and where she might be. She didn’t have a lot of space in The Matter with Morris—Morris is greedy on the page—and so I leapt ahead and found Lucille in her late fifties and still grieving the loss of her son and trying to make sense of her own place in the world. Her voice is very different than Morris’s. More thoughtful, more reflective, thinking, sometimes overthinking. In the end I wanted to give her a say and let her tell her side of the story.
TC: Among many roles, Lucille is a therapist, constantly analyzing others and yet so deeply protective of her own vulnerability. She rarely lets others in. What was it like imagining her inner life and seeing Morris and the rest of the family from her perspective?
DB: Yes. Analytical. She analyzes others, why not herself? Which is incredibly difficult, simply because it is almost impossible to see the carbuncles on your own back that others so easily recognize. And yes, she doesn’t let others in, …
Every September since 1997, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival presents THIN AIR, a celebration of books and ideas. Their curated line-up is a perfect fit for curious readers who are ready to discover strong voices and great storytelling in practically every genre. This year, they're presenting a hybrid festival featuring 60 writers, live events, and a dynamic website.
To watch video content David Bergen has prepared for them, visit the festival website.
Five writers, very different in their styles, but equal in their use of language to convey the perplexities of the human condition. I read each of these writers while working on Out of Mind, my latest novel. Not to imitate, but to understand structure, and how characters move, and what stuff these writers borrowed from the material world, and how contradiction and ingenuity raise the mundane, by giving it ‘its beautiful due.’
Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.
This week we're pleased to present the picks of Carrianne Leung (That Time I Loved You), Sharon Butala (Zara's Dead), Dimitri Nasrallah (The Bleeds), Kim Clark (A One-Handed Novel), and Naben Ruthnum (Find You in the Dark).
Carrianne Leung picks Catherine Hernandez's Scarborough
Catherine Hernandez's Scarborough is a love letter to the underrepresented folks and communities that are so marginalized that they are often erased in public discourse, let alone in literary fiction. Scarborough tells stories of everyday people in a pocket of a suburb. Through multiple characters across a linear timeline, Hernandez leads us through one year in their lives. These are little stories told through the eyes of children, single mothers and Ms. Hina, a city worker who tries to do these families justice. I admire Hernandez's delicate attention to these characters. They are fully realized, fully fleshed, complicated characters for whom we ache and cheer on. Hernandez reminds that e …