M: Haha I was reading your book intensely for days and people started asking, “Ok ok, what is this book?” What is this book you are so enraptured by? And I said “Well it’s a book I’ve been waiting for for a long time.” I am very excited it exists.
K: That’s really wonderful to hear Mary. I hope—I guess you always hope you will be read, really read. I wrote the books for girls like you and me and our former selves. For depressed girls too, for girls who keep Tumblrs, the girls in community college, the girls behind the counter.
- Mary Borkowski interviews Kate Zambreno about Heroines in The New Inquiry.
Zambreno, whose work and ideas I only know since reading a Believer interview this morning, also told Borkowski this:
… when Henry James or Scott Fitzgerald writes their Daisies, it’s not taboo. They are not judged for being their characters, their lives are not the ones judged instead of the books. I think so often, especially if the work is perceived of as being drawn from life, the woman, not her book, is reviewed.
… The big rhetorical leap I’m taking in Heroines is that the impulse to discipline the self or the excessive out of our literature, comes from modernism and is mostly about moral attitudes of the time. In modernism we see this happen more with women writers, whose work and behavior was often critiqued as being TOO MUCH. Too excessive, too autobiographical, and then, not literary enough. There was a simultaneous horror for as well as fetishizing of the feminine in modernism. And now, think in terms of how Sheila Heti’s book was often reviewed. I’m curious why our conversation about fiction seems to often pivot on how fictional a work is.