The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is your fourth book, 2nd novel. What drove you towards the novel form this time around?

I like to work on both at the same time.  I’ll work on a story for awhile and then switch gears and muck around in a novel to take the pressure off both forms.

 

Cover art for The Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall

As it often is with new voices, it all starts with a dull buzz, and the sense of serendipity. Something allows the title or the subject matter or the quality of the prose to break through the daily clutter, the onslaught of suggestions and advertising, to sit with you, to hold your hand and not let go. That is the case with this powerful collection of fiction, The Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall. For me, it started with early adopters, people like Dan Wickett at Dzanc Books and the Emerging Writers Network, and Roxane Gay at PANK. By the time I saw the cover, and tracked down a story online to get a taste of the voice, I was nearly sold. After reading “When Praying to a Saint, Include Something Up Her Alley” at her website (originally published in Black Warrior Review) I was in. All in. So very much invested. And a little bit scared.

JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.

 

New Narratives

When we think of experimental fiction and what it means to write in a way that challenges form and style, we often think of writers like Kathy Acker, Ander Monson, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Danielle Dutton, Selah Saterstrom, Mark Danielewski, Laird Hunt, to name a few. As this form has emerged, it’s slowly become a viable medium in which narratives are compiled of frayed edges, blurry lines and unique style. This type of writing began to focus on fragmented stories, utilizing techniques and styles that echo modern poets and experimental texts. A movement called the New Narrative began in the 80s that gave voice to writers looking to give voice to narratives in a more experimental fashion. Initially, these writers focused on eliminating the boundaries between the author and reader as to identify with the physical side of the author. While some of these New Narrative authors were gay and lesbian writers, all who became part of this movement did focus on “new narrative” forms of communicating with its readers. Incorporating meta-text and sexually unambiguous descriptions of the everyday were par for the course in works that emerged as a result of this movement in writing. Authors like Eileen Myles, Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy and Robert Gluck were among those who pushed boundaries with style and form and who are associated with such a progressive movement where writing’s concerned.Ugly Duckling Presse published Dodie Bellamy’s Barf Manifesto in the fall of 2009, which is a combination of two essays that Bellamy wrote for panel discussions about the liberation of form in regard to writing. Eileen Myles had written an essay entitled, “Everyday Barf” and Barf Manifesto is Bellamy’s response to that essay. Divided into two essays, Bellamy addresses some of the issues and talking points that emerged as a result of Myles’s multifaceted piece on “Everyday Barf.”