Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Q&A with Rachel Lyon

From my Q&A with Rachel Lyon, author of Fruit of the Dead: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Fruit of the Dead came to me through researching the myth of Persephone. While in the underworld, Persephone eats six pomegranate seeds, sometimes referred to as "fruit of the dead," an act that, without her knowledge, binds her to the place for eternity. Every time I revisit the myth I'm offended on Persephone's behalf that nobody tells her, on entry, "Hey, just be aware, the food here is cursed, stay away from it," or, like, offers her any paperwork to look over, any fine print. In my book, the 18-year-old Cory, an analogue for Persephone, is given an NDA to sign, but becomes hooked on a (fictional) drug that her employer, a pharmaceutical CEO, has yet to bring to market. He describes it as, "a highly effective, highly popular, highly pleasant, highly safe, frankly groundbreaking painkiller. Greater efficacy. Fewer side effects. Longer relief. Plus, you know, between you and me, it’s a good time. Not too good. Just good enough, let’s say. Granadone is so safe we used it in a cocktail at the company Christmas party. Vodka, soda, bitters, a splash of pomegranate juice, a slice of lime. Tasty—kind of plummy—and so potent you felt like you’d transcended this earthly sphere. We called the cocktail Fruit of the Dead. I mean, come on. Irresistible, right?" So the titular phrase refers not just to the mythical seeds, but also to this fictional, drug-spiked cocktail, which Cory...[read on]
Visit Rachel Lyon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Self-Portrait with Boy.

My Book, The Movie: Self-Portrait with Boy.

The Page 69 Test: Fruit of the Dead.

Q&A with Rachel Lyon.

--Marshal Zeringue