The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Vendela Vida’

Staff Picks: Archaeologies of the Future, the Last Live Nude Girls

July 15, 2011 | by

As a supplement to our science-fiction issue, I’ve been reading Fredric Jameson’s super brainy Archaeologies of the Future, his defense of SF as the last redoubt of utopianism. Jameson also makes some helpful distinctions between SF and fantasy, to the detriment of the latter (a nice antidote to Harry Potter mania). It has brought back memories of many childhood afternoons spent reading Asimov, Le Guin, and Frank Herbert—books I thought I’d forgotten but am happy to rediscover. —Robyn Creswell

I’ve been fully immersed in Sheila McClear’s memoir The Last of the Live Nude Girls, about her time spent working in a Times Square peep showeye-opening, gritty, and compelling. —Sadie Stein

The theme of the summer issue of Lapham’s Quarterly is food, and by golly is it delicious! A taste of the issue’s excerpt from Vasari’s Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects: “Andrea presented an octagonal church like San Giovanni, but resting on columns. The pavement was formed of jelly, resembling a variously colored mosaic; the columns, which looked like porphyry, were large sausages; the bases and capitals Parmesan cheese; the cornices were made of pastry and sugar, and the tribunes of quarters of marzipan. In the middle was a choir desk made of cold veal, with a book of lasagna, the letters and notes being formed of peppercorns.”Clare Fentress

Inspired by a book-cover painting by Leanne Shapton, I’ve been reading a vintage Penguin edition of Bonjour Tristesse. If I can’t be in the south of France ... —Thessaly La Force

I’m contributing from the Palovista Ranch this week, where I’ve been writing but also rereading one of my favorite novels, Blood Meridian and, for the first time, Suttree. As expected, Cormac McCarthy is the perfect companion for long walks around the desert. —Natalie Jacoby

If you get a chance to see the documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, be sure to: it’s not just a portrait of the iconic Yiddish writer but also of a lost world. I found it deeply moving. —S. S.

Dani Shapiro on the difference having a child has on a memoirist: “After all, one can’t write with abandon if one is worrying about the consequences. And to have children is to always, always worry about the consequences.” —T. L.

I’ve got a girl crush on former Paris Review intern, Believer editor, and author extraordinaire Vendela Vida. Read her Guardian interview on lying, The Lovers, and why she and Dave Eggers don’t linger over dinner. —Mackenzie Beer

2 COMMENTS

Vendela Vida

August 19, 2010 | by

Vendela Vida’s new novel, The Lovers, follows a middle-aged Vermont woman, recently widowed, as she vacations in the unfamiliar territory of Turkey in an attempt to re-examine her life. Among these new surroundings, her initial numbness about her bereavement gives way to doubt over whether her marriage was even happy, and she has to face up to a pain she never anticipated. Vendela Vida recently answered my questions over lunch during her book tour’s stop-over in New York City.

What drew you to set this novel in Turkey?

It was completely an accident. I went there for a month in June of 2005 when I was trying to finish my second novel, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, and wanted to be far away from the Arctic Circle in winter—the setting of that novel—and free from the day-to-day distractions of my life in San Francisco. I found a rental house by typing “Turkey,” “rental,” “cheap,” and “beach” into a search engine. I had no intention of setting a novel there, but a year later, this house and this town I stayed in kept appearing in my mind. I couldn’t get rid of the idea of writing about Turkey, so I did.

Did the house you stayed in have any of the unusual contents of the vacation house in the book?

Yes. I usually don’t like to take details from life, but, in this case, I couldn’t resist. The owners left out things that people typically wouldn’t leave out—sex swings, pornographic photos of the wife, books on sexual positions. My husband and I would leave the house to swim, or eat, or explore, and when we returned we would want to be in a neutral, uncomplicated place to relax and absorb everything new we’d seen and experienced beyond the walls of the house, but we were continually affronted by some new and intimate discovery about the owners’ lives. I wanted to put Yvonne, the protagonist of The Lovers, in a discomfiting situation like that.

Lionel Shriver has said she writes partly as catharsis-in-advance. So she wrote about death to experience bereavement. Was this a motive for you in exploring the character of Yvonne?

I write a lot from a place of fear. My friend, the writer Amanda Davis, who was killed in a plane crash in 2003, said that every day you should write about something that scares you. I was finishing this book just after the birth of my second child and the notion that this newborn could one day be estranged and the source of pain for me was also something I feared—and so I made Yvonne’s relationship with her daughter an especially fraught and challenging one. Even the vague idea of my husband dying is something that devastates me. So I was tapping into that fear when creating Yvonne, who’s fifty-three and a widow, and trying to imagine what it would be like to lose someone after spending half your life with them.

Read More »

NO COMMENTS