Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Ways to Disappear"

Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear. Born in western Pennsylvania, she has since lived in Chile, Brazil and New York. Her poetry collections include Exit, Civilian, selected by Patri­cia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series, The Next Coun­try, a final­ist for the 2008 Fore­word Book of the Year Award, and Clarice: The Visitor, a collaboration with the artist Erica Baum.

Novey applied the Page 69 Test to Ways to Disappear and reported the following:
Page 69 reveals one of the turning points in Ways to Disappear. Raquel, the missing author’s daughter opens a document on her mother’s computer that contains a story that seems like it could be autobiographical. As Raquel reads the story, she starts to question how much she really knows about her mother’s life before her birth and also why she resisted reading her mother’s work before now. It was a scene I wrote a few months after having my second child when I began to wonder what my writing might reveal someday to my children not only about my life but also about their own.

The first scene Raquel reads in the document takes place outside a popular artsy cinema in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970’s during the military dictatorship. Raquel has heard about this cinema from her mother and knows her mother went there often in the seventies when her mother was in college. I don’t want to give away what happens next as it shapes the rest of the novel. But it was curious to open Ways to Disappear to page 69 and discover it was the start of a pivotal scene, and one I have a vivid memory of writing, wondering as I wrote it about how little any of us knows about the moments our parents never speak of, but return to in their minds over and over.
Visit Idra Novey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue