It’s is not my debut novel. Rather, I have the feeling it’s the opposite — the final one. I could never do this again. What’s Left is a big novel chock full of surprising turns, deep thoughts, and lively details. Unless Cassia starts speaking to me again, there will be no sequels. For me, at least, the story condenses so much into its pages I’m feeling completed.
Unlike my earlier novels, this one was not written on the fly while working full-time as a journalist. Like them, though, it’s undergone extensive revision.
Woven through the book are themes I’d explored in my earlier stories, now seen in a new light, while investigating others I’m tackling for the first time. Family and family enterprise, adolescence and childhood, death and divorce, and Greek-American culture, especially, are new while counterculture, romance, spirituality, community, nature and specific place, livelihood, journalism itself all run through my previous work.
Think of this bit as going into the compost rather than being served on the plate:
All I’m doing is asking you to apply your new comprehension to the rest of your life.
Of course, you’ve heard somebody blurt out, “I’m never going to forget this as long as I live!” Or some such. And sometimes it’s true.
Me? I have trouble remembering nearly everything. Could it be one reason I read so widely is to help me remember? Of course, writing gets it down on paper, once again so I don’t forget.
So while I read to help me remember and to gain insight on the world around me, it’s not the only reason by any stretch.
What do you look for most in a novel or poem?