Saturday, October 9, 2010

‘I am a story teller’

With her second novel The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos out recently, Margaret Mascarenhas opens up about how growing up in Venezuela has impacted her writing.

Eight years after Penguin India published her first novel Skin, Margaret Mascarenhas' latest novel The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos was published in the U.S. by Hachette Book Group Inc. A novel set in Venezuela, The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is a differently crafted novel that gently reels in its reader into a story of love, family, belonging and the “search for individual truth”, set against a backdrop of revolution, uncertainty and change. Shortly after its India launch recently, Margaret Mascarenhas talks about the book, its subtext of resistance, growing up in Venezuela, and the influences on her work as a writer.

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is an intriguingly crafted book. You've used magic realism a lot. The final chapter catches the reader completely by surprise.
Yes, everybody gets zapped by the end. But it's really up to the reader to decide if it's this or that. I grew up in South America, so magic realism is part of my psyche. But in this book, I turn magical realism completely on its head.Technically, I was doing several things. I am questioning the genre of magical realism. I am converting to writing an essentially oral cliff-hanger telenovela format. And I also tried to tell a story in a closed third person narration, through the point of view of nine characters that the reader must get in love with immediately, and never repeat a character, while pulling the base story line through those nine characters' point of view. I had to see if I could pull that off successfully. And I think I have.

When I write I find it's important for me to challenge myself technically, in story telling, in terms of format and the way I would present it. It took me five years to complete, but I can never feel any urgency to rush things until I am fully satisfied with the work myself.

Full interview here Hindu

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