Eva Hornung Interview

Eva Hornung, under the name Eva Sallis, published Hiam, which won the Australian/Vogel Literary award in 1997, and The Marsh Birds, which was shortlisted for a number of Australian literary awards in 2006. Now the author has a new novel, Dog Boy, about to be published. She spoke to Jane Sullivan of "The Age".

She's always written, but never thought of herself as a writer until her first novel, Hiam, won the Vogel award. That affirmation sparked an intense six-week creative period. She wrote during all her waking hours and produced drafts of two novels, though it then took seven years to get them into print.

In Hornung's latest story, Romochka, a four-year-old boy living in Moscow, is abandoned by his parents. He finds refuge with a mother dog he calls Mamochka, who gives him milk, and he begins a difficult and dangerous new life in the mother's lair with her offspring. Most of the story is told from Romochka's point of view: a boy who, fighting daily for survival, identifies far more with dogs than with humans.

"I hope it's a disturbing book," Hornung says. "I don't think there are any easy answers about our relationship with animals, except that animals are perhaps closer to us than we think."

She expects readers will see the novel as a departure from her previous fiction -- written under the name of Eva Sallis -- which is mostly about the experiences of migrants and refugees, particularly from the Arab world. "But for me, it's really harping on the same old things. The notion of where the self resides, and under what pressure the self expands or contracts. What it means to belong, whether in family, community, nation -- or species."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 2, 2009 12:36 PM.

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