The Texture of a Life: an interview with Joan Thomas

The Puritan magazine’s Winter 2015 issue is out. This slim issue pulls its weight with fiction by Stephen Thomas and David Huebert, plenty of fresh verse, a double-feature review by Ryan Pratt, and three interviews. One of these is an interview I did with writer Joan Thomas earlier this winter.

Joan Thomas is a Winnipeg writer whose work has received international attention. Her most recent novel, The Opening Sky, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 2014.

The beauty of the long-form interview is, obviously, that you can really get into your subject, follow breadcrumbs to whole houses of meaning. Joan had wonderful things to say about each of her three novels, and about fiction in general:

…writers of literary fiction care most about recreating the texture of a life, which is a way of capturing the mystery of conscious existence. I would say the novel has evolved for this purpose, and I would say that all its conventions and its intense subjectivity tend toward that. The extraordinary events a novel might recount strike me as a scaffolding—they take the story forward, but the higher purpose is to create characters who live and breathe on the page. And that’s why I turn to books as a reader; fiction deepens my awareness of being alive and my sense of intimate connection with other lives.

Read the rest of this interview here. See issue 28’s table of contents here.

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