Monday, July 21, 2014

"The Girls from Corona del Mar"

Rufi Thorpe received her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2009. A native of California, she currently lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and son.

Thorpe applied the Page 69 Test to The Girls From Corona del Mar, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Girls from Corona del Mar plunks the reader down in the midst of a very long, winding story about Lorrie Ann's mother being attacked in her home, bludgeoned over the head with a ceramic gnome, and then hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury. It is a swarm of characters, tiny details, "and then's" and would not be at all how I would introduce the reader to the book.
And so it came to be that Bobby never returned to the hospital that night, but instead had his buddy Seth pretend to be the sheriff's office and call Lorrie Ann, cryptically telling her to go to the hospital, where her mother was in critical condition.
It's a lot of names to keep track of, a lot of long sentences with too many dependent clauses. I would rather, of course, that they start with the first sentence of the book, "You're going to have to break one of my toes," I explained.

And yet, this feverish run-on quality is something my work is always teetering on the edge of, flirting with. It seems to be a space I find again and again, even when I try not to. In my experience, life is never simple, and things happen because of a cascade as opposed to a single trigger, and so I try to create this in my work, sometimes obsessively. There is also a comedic quality to The Girls from Corona del Mar, even though it is also a very dark book, that I think can be a little baffling. Ultimately, it is a book about growing up and trying to love your best friend even when you can't understand her at all. It is about your life turning out nothing like you could have ever expected it would. It's about trying to be a good person, even when you are positively sure you are a bad person. As far as I can tell, life is thrilling and beautiful and scary and funny, and so I tried to write a book that was like that too.
Visit Rufi Thorpe's website.

Writers Read: Rufi Thorpe.

--Marshal Zeringue