The Chantal Chawaf Newsletter, Volume I, Number 1 (Spring 1997)



"Chantal Chawaf Talks About Her New Novel,"

by Kristin Switala, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA

Question: What is the subject of your new novel?

Answer: Memory, in the links between the most intimate memory -- fetal memory -- and collective and historical memory.

Question: Was this book easier or more difficult to write than your previous works?

Answer: It has been much more difficult to write than my previous books. Why? Because it has demanded a considerable amount of research into personal accounts and archives, along with literary research on the multiple creative possibilites that permit and demand this voyage of the memory of the body and the memory of history unified in sensibility, consciousness and the unconscious.

Question: What specific issues do you address in this novel?

Answer: It concerns another way of writing history and the novel in following a point of view which is no longer, properly speaking, a historian's or novelist's look at the substance of memory, but a point of view as close as possible to the sensible and the sensorial, what produces an ethical questioning of war, violence and death across a language of research which clarifies the historical facts obscured in their restoration, their emotional change and their part of life habitually sacrificed by conventional language.

Question: What is the title of your book?

Answer: I would prefer to wait until completing the work, before answering this question. I do appreciate your questions very much, and thank you for asking them.

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