Jo Hamya Is Not Her Narrator

August 5, 2021

At the Rumpus, Jo Hamya shares the writing process behind her debut novel, Three Rooms, and how she reluctantly deals with reader assumptions about her narrator as a stand-in for herself. “A lot of people think it’s autofiction, and that I’m the narrator,” Hamya says. “The hardest thing about writing the book was that at regular intervals I’d stop and be like, what if people think this is me? […] As I was writing, I kept thinking about how I don’t like this narrator at all. I understand why people feel sympathy for her, but she’s not my idea of a great person—she’s necessarily ineffectual and vague, because otherwise the book would wrap up neatly with her getting her life together. She’s a composite of the worst tweets I could find, and as I was putting her into various situations or environments that I’d been in my life, and having her act differently, I kept thinking how it would be awful if someone thought this was me, but it does seem to be happening [laughs]. I suppose that’s unavoidable. You can’t control what your readers think. I’ll just have to deal with it.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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