Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Alex as Well"

Alyssa Brugman was born in Rathmines, Lake Macquarie, Australia in May 1974. She attended five public schools before completing a Marketing Degree at the University of Newcastle. In 2014 she was awarded a PhD in Communication from Canberra University.

Brugman has worked as an after-school tutor for Aboriginal children. She taught management, accounting and marketing at a business college, worked for a home improvements company and then worked in Public Relations before becoming a full-time writer. She currently runs a small business providing hoofcare, equine rehabilitation and producing nutritional supplements for horses.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Alex as Well, and reported the following:
I don’t have a copy of the US edition, but in the Australian edition, on page 69 the reader discovers that when Alex (the male Alex) doesn’t take her medication, she grows breasts. Alex is intersex, but she doesn’t know.

Initially this manuscript was an exercise in unreliable narration, and specifically how do you tell a reader things that the character doesn’t know. I studied a range of narrative devices that could be applied for this purpose and on this page is an example.

“And it doesn’t cross my mind to make a connection between these little buds of breasts and the medication I’m not taking.”

If it doesn’t cross the character’s mind then how can she tell the reader? This sentence exists outside the story. It doesn’t occur inside the character’s head, and it has no place within the timeframe of the story. It is discourse. It’s an authorial utterance, rather than a character one. When you see discourse embedded in a story it is generally because the author has information that needs to be imparted to you, the reader, at this time in the story, because it’s preparation for something coming up.
Visit Alyssa Brugman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Alex as Well.

--Marshal Zeringue