May 29, 2014

Auckland Writers Festival 2014: "May We Be Forgiven" with A.M. Homes, chaired by Paula Morris

Guest post by Campbell, Readers Services, Central City Library.


I’m here to see A M Homes speak; I’ve recently read two of her books. I’m not late, but the lights are off and the room is almost full. Naturally people take the end seats first and I navigate around people’s legs and bags to get to a seat by the left wall. I stand on somebody's bag and feel something squish beneath my step. I spill some water on some lady. I am sorry. I’m doing my best. She is on stage already, dressed head to foot in shades of black, her white skin is not tan but not pale, a generous helping of brown hair is thrown this way and that. A yellow dot floats over one cheek. Sitting with her on stage is Paula, in a black and white stripy skirt. Paula wants to talk about Jewishness. Her theory about the title of the book is wrong. The stage behind them is all black and orange, the festival colours. They talk about Scarlett Johannsen suing a French author, then talk about having a cold. She gestures with her hands, linking her fingers, holding hands with herself, touching her fingertips together flinging her hands outward. She is super confident, super relaxed and super healthy. She invites the entire audience to an artistic retreat just out of New York. I want to go. People are still coming in, they are missing the gold. The rare empty seats are filling up around me. A man behind me is obviously annoyed that I am using my phone as a light to take notes, I put my finger over the light and write in the muted red glow, it is just enough. She tells jokes. One falls completely flat but she turns the failure into a joke, this gets a laugh. She talks about being adopted and jokes that she is still up for adoption, one person sitting close behind laughs loudly. She drops names. She talks about her memoir, says it was like picking at a scab every day. It felt awful but she came out of it feeling like she’d had a massive therapy session. I would say that sounds accurate. She reads a passage from the latest book. I know the book and remember the scene. It involves a surprise orgy at laser tag. It’s a good scene. She reads quickly, in short stops and starts, only looks to her left. She is different when she reads. Later she says ‘in America we like to pretend things didn’t happen’. She talks about America. They translate very few books. Her books are not popular there.

A.M. Homes

Ditulis Oleh : Karen Craig // 21:43
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