Elements of the issues explored in my poetry carry across to my fiction, though in some ways the project is more obvious in the latter. In my novel Genre I interweave different narrative threads and visual motifs into a single paragraph that runs for over 300 pages. The devices at work are appropriation, monologue, dialogue, discourse, the letter, translation, word-games, rhizomic linguistic tropes, and so on. The prime concerns are gender and representation – the body of text, the corporeality of place, the machine of the page and so on. The novel is set in a block of flats which work like a Venn diagram, the lives of the occupants interacting, resisting, colliding, functioning with apparent indifference. The unifying theme is surveillance and censorship. What can we or do we hear or see of their lives? Is what we’re presented – in whichever voice or narrative mode is networking at the time – in fact “truth”? Abjection, censorship, and pornography are recurring themes. Or maybe the only themes.
Which brings me to Eros. Not a goddess, and not about love. Rather, a propaganda tool. A pastoral construct. The figurehead of the patriarchy. Britannia, Mother Earth, Marianne, Liberty. The book subverts such constructions. Male and female become biological terms, templates for experience and that variable “truth”. The book has already created controversy in Australia where it was published last November. A friend recently emailed me to ask what my “intention” was behind one of the stories (one of the “milder” ones) – “The Throats of Foxes”. This is my reply:
The story is actually based on a personal ad I read in a magazine called Sex News (research, honestly!) in which the advertiser was offering potions made from the urine of pregnant women to increase sex drive etc (pre-Viagra… ). It was also asking for pregnant women to write to a P.O. box if they were interested in becoming “donors”. The ad also offered other witchcraft-related paraphernalia and often talked of “animal prowess” etc. Thus the fox connection. And it is true that the fox does scream like a human Ñ and I’ve heard it many times. The connection between the pagan fertility ritual, death, and the “animal” comes together at the end. There’s a kind of lycanthropic process taking place, a transformation not into something else, but an awakening of the latent.
A blurb, for me, is as much part of the book as the actual “text”. I donÕt recognise the demarcation line between publisher/blurb writer and so called author of the authentic work. The blurb for Eros says:
The back cover has a list of names one might use as points of reference: Freud, de Sade, Sacher Masoch, Edgar Allan Poe, Lautréamont, Emily Bront‘, Bataille. One might also add Elizabeth Grosz, Donna Haraway, Julia Kristeva, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, and children’s nursery rhymes. The demarcation between what is seen in the catalogues and what is worn is inadmissible.