Tuesday, September 08, 2015

What is Sara Jaffe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sara Jaffe, author of Dryland.

Her entry begins:
Are all books about adolescents automatically coming-of-age stories? What happens when a teenaged character doesn’t necessarily “become” anything, but simply wades around the mire that is adolescence, accumulating experience if not learning from it? What does it look like to write about teenage characters for an adult audience? This is the sort of narrative of adolescence I tried to create in Dryland, and one that I’m consistently drawn to—but while I was writing the book, I didn’t want to let myself read other books that covered similar terrain (for fear I’d decide I was going about it all wrong). What a pleasure, then, to finally be able to read the various anti-bildungsromans I’ve accumulated over the last few years.

There’s Lucy Ives’ Nineties, which looks at adolescence (in this case in New York City in the titular decade) as a kind of performance, or a series of performances, sometimes contradictory, each acted out with equal insistence. Experiences are at once visceral and mediated through the distancing mechanism of...[read on]
About Dryland, from the publisher:
It’s 1992, and the world is caught up in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Balkan Wars, but for fifteen-year-old Julie Winter, the news is noise. In Portland, Oregon, Julie moves through her days in a series of negatives: the skaters she doesn’t think are cute, the trinkets she doesn’t buy at the craft fair, the umbrella she refuses to carry despite the incessant rain. Her family life is routine and restrained, and no one talks about Julie’s older brother, a one-time Olympic-hopeful swimmer who now lives in self-imposed exile in Berlin. Julie has never considered swimming herself, until Alexis, the girls’ swim team captain, tries to recruit her. It’s a dare, and a flirtation—and a chance for Julie to find her brother, or to finally let him go. Anything could happen when her body hits water.
Visit Sara Jaffe's website.

Writers Read: Sara Jaffe.

--Marshal Zeringue