New Guy Gavriel Kay interview

Speaking of which, there is a fascinating new Q&A with Guy Gavriel Kay on Reading the Past. Kay talks about Under Heaven (Canada, USA, Europe) and many other facets of his craft.

Here's a teaser:

An underlying motif in your novels deals with how women operate within the limitations imposed by their society, what roles they have to assume in order to achieve any kind of influence… and how society responds to them in turn. One could, for example, write an essay comparing and contrasting Spring Rain and Wen Jian, or Wen Jian and Ysabel, for that matter (and someone probably will!). What continues to fascinate you about this topic?

I suppose I could be flippant and say: what’s not to fascinate? I have always argued that good books involve interesting things happening to interesting people (ideally, written in interesting language). As a writer, I simply add to my resources if I can find ways to make the women characters compelling, and for me that does not mean giving them actions or a scope for action that runs drastically counter to history. I’ll bend things slightly, but not wildly. Jehane (a female physician in The Lions of Al-Rassan) is based on the fact that there were such women doctors. I give her rather more ‘range’ than would likely have been the case, but the profession, especially in her culture, is legitimate. In Under Heaven one of the things that truly fascinated me was the relationship between the courtesans in the ‘pleasure district’ and the students preparing for the grand civil service examinations in the capital city. There is a tremendous amount of scholarship (and poetry!) about this and I loved it. The Tang courtesans, incidentally, are the direct antecedent of what we know rather better today: the Japanese geisha culture.

Follow this link to read the entire interview.

2 commentaires:

Sarah Johnson said...

Thanks for posting about my interview, Pat! Nice to see it mentioned here - I'm an avid reader of your blog!

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