Peter Goldsworthy Interview

gravel.jpg   Peter Goldsworthy, author of Everything I Knew, has published a new collection of eight stores titled Gravel. He was interviewed by Angela Meyer for the "LiteraryMinded" weblog.

The book is published by Penguin Books, under the Hamish Hamilton imprint.

You're skilled at capturing that moment of erotic awakening, in 'The Nun's Story', and also in Everything I Knew. It's the kind of topic that draws the reader in through memory, the senses and the imagination. Is the best kind of art, for you, something that stirs the intellect, emotions and physical body all at once?

Exactly. Too much literary fiction is pure confection - all head; too much popular fiction is cheap emotions - all heart. There are great exceptions; there is nothing human - nothing of the heart - in Borges' best stories, and they are wonderful. But he knew to keep them short; he would never risk boring us with a novel. I want - unhumbly - to speak to all the organs at once. I've often written about this - as essay called the Biology of Literature, for one - how writing can make us weep and laugh of course, but can make the goosebumps rise (Robert Graves' test of great poetry), or make our hairs stand up on end, or fill us with awe, or stop us sleeping for days.

Which story in Gravel was the most difficult to write, and why?

Hard to say. They are always a mixture of pain and pleasure. 'Sometimes pus, sometimes a poem - but always pain', the poet Yehudi Amichai wrote. 'Shooting the Dog', perhaps - a story that was given to me by my wife Lisa, from her days as a young teacher in the bush. Or the last one, on the love between a middle-aged man and a school girl.
As a child I was pretty often covered in various forms of gravel rash - falling off bikes, tripping in the school playground, which always seems to be covered with bitumen - so I cringe just a little every time I see that cover.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 17, 2010 8:38 AM.

Reprint: Widow Sums Up by A. H. C. (Alec H. Chisholm) was the previous entry in this blog.

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