Narrative 10

Following the success of her new novel Lucky Us, we have a few burning questions for Amy Bloom.

1. Who is your favorite character in fiction; your fave character in life?

I have a soft spot for Trollope’s dreadful Lizzie Greystock; for Austen’s soft-hearted, sharp-tongued Elizabeth Bennet; for Robertson Davies’s arrogant, excitable, wily Eisengrim. In real life—in this case meaning after their deaths—my parents are my favorite characters.

2. Your favorite line (that you or someone else wrote)?

My favorite line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” etc. There are better and many other favorites, but that one never disappears.

3. The story, novel, or poem you wish you could read again for the first time.

I wish I could read all of Carol Shields for the first time. Also all of Wisława Szymborska. Also, I would love to be twelve and discover John Collier’s short stories again.

4. Best part of the day?

The best part of the day is the cup of coffee before I begin work OR the moment I recall my particularly complex and ridiculous and moving dream (late parents, ex-husband, now-husband, all children, sunlit meadows, talking dog, Model T cars) OR the end of the evening, lying in bed with my husband.

5. Your cure for when the spirit flags?

Good cup of coffee or cold champagne in the backyard or in a café, with a book I love, where everyone is polite and no one knows me. Happy phone call with any of the children. Shower with rosemary shower gel. Nap.

6. Ten words you use most on the page? In life?

Ack. On the page I am apparently big on colors, especially green and blue. I also use very. And yes. Also descriptions of food. In real life I use really too much. I use it to express modulated disgust, a sort of joyful disbelief in the ways of people, and also for dead-serious emphasis. Also in real life, “God doesn’t give with both hands.”

7. What’s your current obsession?

I’m not much of an obsessor. I am deeply, deeply interested in and anxious about selling my house. I do really like a soft, matte red lipstick that doesn’t make me look like a drag queen or an elderly Mexican madam. I can spend some considerable time looking for said lipstick. I do also think quite a bit about the GOP and what it’s doing to the country.

8. What’s the most useful criticism you’ve ever received?

From the brilliant Rebecca Brown, about a character I loved and had written about at great, lush length: “This is kind of a big, wet valentine, isn’t it? Shouldn’t you throw it out?”

9. What did you know at age twelve that you wish you hadn’t forgotten, and/or what do you know now you wish you knew then?

I wish I knew at twelve that much of what I suspected about adults was true. I wish I had known that adolescence was going to be a breeze compared to my childhood.

10. To quote Auden, “O tell me the truth about love.” We’re all ears.

It’s great when lust leads to love and stays there. For all other occasions, enjoy the lust, keep your passwords private and your wits about you, and when the flame burns down, be gracious. (For the other kinds of love, be generous, be kind, and know that what you sow, you reap.)
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