Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Q&A with Beverly Gologorsky

Beverly Gologorsky is the author of the new novel Every Body Has a Story. She also has written the novels Stop Here and The Things We Do To Make It Home, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times and The Nation.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Every Body Has a Story?

A: During the years of the last recession a confluence of events such as heavy job loss and many foreclosures were raising various questions in my mind: What was happening to all those people? Where will they go? What will they do? Can a family stay together during so much loss? And in particular how can working class people survive these disasters? These questions evoked what became the theme of my book.

Q: The novel takes place in New York. How important is setting for you in your work?

A: Setting is very important. I've lived in New York. I chose the South Bronx not only because I know it well but also because many areas of that borough are not well off, and blue collar people live paycheck to paycheck when there is one. 

Q: Did you know how the book would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?

A: No, I had no idea how the book would end. But in all of my novels, I never do. It's important to me to discover outcome along with my characters. And, yes, many changes and drafts over the years, for almost the same reasons. As my characters deepened they needed more of this and less of that, etc.

Q: How was the title chosen, and what does it signify for you?

A: In addition to being a play on words, since everybody is usually written and read as one not two words, I wanted to call attention to the body itself in that we each have one, but also people betray their bodies in various ways, and/or the body itself betrays by illness. Each of the characters in the book has her/his own concept of who they are and thus together hopefully portray every body.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am working on a new novel, but I remain nervous about talking about a novel in progress; first of all a novel changes on its route to conclusion; secondly, I never do know the outcome until it arrives.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Only that I chose to write a book that centers on class because I believe it is a subject that must be addressed again and again, particularly during these times when people, namely politicians, use and misuse the term working class to leave out so many people and to claim it as only relating to the few.

I don't believe that. The working class is black and white and multi-ethnic, immigrant and citizen. Therefore I want the characters in my novels to speak to this truth.  

--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Beverly Gologorsky.

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