Talking Bagels and Magic Ponies
There was a lovely interview in the Paris Review last month with Chris Adrian, graduate from Havard Divinity School, hospital doctor and fellow in paediatric haematology who also moonlights as the author of THE GREAT NIGHT.
Floating hospitals, death-defeating machines, angels, devil children, fairies: the supernatural, the magical, the surreal and sinister abound in your work. What’s useful about it?
The urge to have talking bagels or magic ponies or what have you in the story makes it easier to write about stuff that I find difficult to face emotionally or difficult to articulate emotionally. It makes some of that darker or more oppressive emotional stuff easier to manipulate or turn around in the story. Though ultimately the weirder it gets, the greater the onus for whatever sadness or triumphs the talking bagel or the magic pony experience to feel real to the reader—the more imperative it is that the emotional part of it feel real, be starkly recognizable.
The Observer’s Olivia Laing was bewitched:
That such a deep compassion exists hand in hand with linguistic playfulness and structural dexterity is as disarming as it is beguiling. Though this isn’t precisely a comedy, Adrian takes his cues from Shakespeare in providing plenty of rough larks, largely of a sexual sort … Indeed, one wonders whether he took Bottom the Weaver’s final admonishment – “Rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect” – to heart, for this magical and fearless work is a near-blueprint of what a novel ought to be
Read all reviews here.