At Electric Literature, in a fascinating conversation with J.R. Ramakrishnan, author Marie-Helene Bertino explains how she used time as a storytelling device in her latest novel, Parakeet. “I very much wanted to do to time, to use everything I could possibly think of, on a page with time, to help tell the story of time, of how sometimes it reverses, rewinds, moves faster and moves slower, the way it does when you’re in a catastrophic incident, and the way you do for every moment after that incident. The trauma forever changes you. Anytime you remember something, you re-experience it and time works in that same way on you again. It was a literal representation of how time begins to move independent of logic,” Bertino says. “I was focusing on trauma, but I think it works the same way when you’re in love. Days can feel like years when you’re waiting for a loved one to return or when you’re waiting to see your child or when you’re waiting to give birth to your child. There is nothing emotional that doesn’t land on time somehow. I was very literally trying to represent that.”
“I can’t remember another single work of art ever having had that immediate and powerful an impact, which of course makes the experience quite impossible to describe. As I experienced it, it drove me out of my wretched mind … I do know that I knew immediately that my sense of what science fiction could be had been permanently altered.” William Gibson on having his world rocked (and artistic sensibilities altered) by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée.
“By running two lives that started from the same point off along divergent tracks, they throw up questions about our uniqueness, and the chances and choices that make us who we are.” On identical twins in literature, from Stephen King to Shakespeare. Also check out Ramona Ausubel’s essay on first children and first novels.