Part One may be found here.
Both Austenland and A & H tackle romantic fantasies and the nature of romantic comedies, their “grotesque mimicry of actual love (A & H 304).” And when Becky tries to decide whether or not she could actually love Felix romantically, she writes a screenplay with a movie ending. But the novel’s conclusion isn’t a “Hollywood ending.” Did you feel that writing it the way you did was risky?
Oh sure. I knew some readers would be angry, and I was sorry for that, because I knew absolutely that the ending was the right one for this story. I think it goes back to genre–those who expected a certain ending might not be willing to go with me where I wanted to take the story. And this story just might not be a good fit for their sensibilities. That’s okay. I knew (was told) that the book would sell better if I made the Hollywood ending work, but for me that would have made the story pointless and been sheer betrayal of the characters. I try to do right by the characters. Continue reading “Interview with Shannon Hale: The Actor and the Housewife, Pt. Two”
Warning: Spoilers ahead! Also, a long post.
I’ve been reading Shannon Hale’s YA novels to my daughter, now 13, for four years. The Books of Bayern are wonderfully emotionally textured, edgy enough to challenge my daughter, and filled with lots of girl power to encourage her to consider her options. Hale’s attention to language attracts my interest sharply. I’ve come to trust her writing as a source of fine language and narrative prowess for my daughter’s developing mind. We snatch up her YA novels whenever they come out.
But I wasn’t interested in Hale’s adult novel, The Actor and the Housewife, until this discussion on AMV. Complaints that the novel’s readers registered there piqued my curiosity. Just before William’s not-necessarily-a-review, Kevin Barney put up this post reviewing the church’s article on emotional infidelity that drew a lot of comments. In January, a BCC-er linked to this article in Slate on opposite sex friendship. The stars seemed to align. I decided to drop other projects and pick up The Actor and the Housewife, see what was what. To make the narrative journey more interesting, I read it aloud to my husband Mark, who during our married life has done such gracious deeds as taking the kids outside so I could talk with male friends or helping me understand the man-side of baffling conversations. I have included in this essay bits of our discussion of the novel as we read it. Continue reading “Crossing Lines: A Metareview of The Actor and the Housewife”