I was at Expo 58’s presentation in Bassano today and I didn’t ask you anything because I couldn’t think of anything at that moment, but I actually have some questions so I’ll try and ask them now, hoping you’ll find time to answer.
The first one regards "The House of Sleep": how did you come up with the idea of basing a story on a disease such as narcolepsy? I think it’s a brilliant idea, but really curious at the same time.
The second is about your female main characters, such as The House of Sleep and The Accidental Woman’s main character: how did you manage to depict such detailed and real characters although being a man? I find it’s amazing. What made you choose to write from their point of view? how did you actually create them?
Thank you very much for your presence today, and for the (hopefully) upcoming response!
Hello Mr Coe,
Like Francesca, I am amazed by the way you write about women. When I decided to read the Accidental Woman, I had the intuition that the story of Maria’s life would be close to my own experience of living. Still, I was surprised how similar the character prooved to be. Why is that ? Maria may well be a stereotype, and many a woman finds a kind of twin sister in her. What I share with her is this feeling of nothingness, an inability of ruling my own life, and having no grip upon things. Like Maria, I do not feel fit for this world, I am like a lonely, dull, idle, dreamy, bored and boring stranger, someone not expected and not wanted.
I loved reading the novel, because of the humouristic tone which makes you laugh at your own life without any dramatic dimension. It is good to laugh of one’s shortcomings. But in the end, you are left with your plague and the author does not show any compassion for his character. The only reassuring bit is that you are not just the one woman, but there must be a lot of others like you. May be a whole wasted generation of them. No doubt, if you happen to have written this novel, you have come upon many women who fed the character ! But we are left with the question why so ? What have we missed ? You have drawn a very good portrait, but you don’t help understand how it works, or am I too close to it to see ?
Thanks for this very good novel, all the same.