Sunday, July 03, 2022

Q&A with David Santos Donaldson

From my Q&A with David Santos Donaldson, author of Greenland: A Novel:
photo credit: Billy Bustamante

About the book, from the publisher:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The title Greenland is purposefully somewhat mysterious—it doesn’t tell you what the book is about in any obvious way. You’d never expect it’s a novel about a young queer Black writer holed up in his basement writing a novel about E.M. Forster’s secret real-life love affair with the Black Egyptian tram conductor, Mohammed el Adl. But as you read on, the title slowly begins to make sense. Eventually the narrator/protagonist, Kip Starling, ends up in Greenland itself, where he hopes to find his true voice in the icy wilderness. For me, the title Greenland has a couple of symbolic references. In the visual sense, Greenland is a land of whiteness—more than 90% of the county is covered with snow and ice; and my narrator is grappling with finding himself amidst a world of Whiteness. He is also socially, politically and artistically finding his own voice on the blank page—which appears to be a neutral thing, but that is only because whiteness is assumed to be neutral. I’m also making a literary reference (almost an inside joke, really), nodding to the work of Graham Greene. Literary scholars have nicknamed his oeuvre “Greeneland.” Greene’s work deals with British colonialism and its spiritual and moral consequences. These are...[read on]
Visit David Santos Donaldson's website.

Q&A with David Santos Donaldson.

--Marshal Zeringue