Dilating Possibilities: Amanda Davidson Interviews Camille Roy

By Harriet Staff

Amanda Davidson talks to Camille Roy over at the City Lights blog. Davidson starts off by describing her first encounter with Roy's book Swarm, summing up here reading experience thus:

Swarm illuminated possibilities I desired but hadn’t known how to locate—prose that jammed tactile (queer) experience next to these glittering breaks where the story doubled back in little reflective theory whirlpools, or talked right to the reader—to me? The book gave me a vertical feeling of excitement, and also enormous relief—a porous way of writing fiction, a way forward, maybe.

And it gets better from there. Here's a taste of the interview:

Amanda Davidson (A): It occurs to me that the title of the book is an invitation into a secret society. You’re riffing off of Robin Hood, band of thieves.

Camille Roy (M): One thing I like about the Sherwood Forest myth is that the band of thieves were off the map. They were in a space of freedom and lawlessness. There is a euphoria to that. I wanted to bring some of that experience into the book. It isn’t about bringing the wilderness into polite discourse. Rather I want to take the reader outside, to experience that point of view. There’s a shift in identification, a change in appropriateness, in language. The book is the forest.

A: You describe Sherwood Forest as maintaining a private space, and said it had a lot to do with using intimate forms of address. What did you mean?

M: The writing goes through mutations. One kind of story shifts into another kind, one kind of language will collapse into another, and this is visceral – it’s an experience the body is having. The body, it’s sensations and susceptibilities, is present in my work. This is a concentrated private relationship. Not dispersed into a public. Readers enter into it as though it were a secret society. Then they have an experience that has elements of the illicit and also has an intimate quality of community. The range is close.

The vision of our society as being open and public, dominated by public forms of experience and language, like you see on reality t.v…. I don’t find it believable. There’s an impermeable barrier between that public sphere and privacy. I’m exploring that.

Make the jump for more.

Originally Published: March 27th, 2012