Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Season Butler is a London-based writer, performance artist and teacher, and an associate producer of the I'm With You art collective.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Cygnet, and reported the following:
This was an interesting one for me, since Cygnet's pagination of the UK edition, published by Dialogue Books, is slightly different from the North American one, out with Harper Collins. Together, the two page 69s perfectly capture the narrator’s internal dilemma and the social landscape of Swan Island.

I first reached for the UK edition of Cygnet, where The Kid is mentally tangled in a panic of stories and images which all contribute to her morbid fantasies around the potential finality of the loss of her family and totality of her alienation.
How long will it be until I or my folks have weathered into a shape where can’t even recognise each other anymore? Or until we’ve changed so much we can’t love each other again, like jigsaw puzzle pieces that have gotten wet and warped and can’t fit together, like they should, and the picture will never be right. I wonder if what I’ve lost is the possibility of fitting anywhere. An extraneous piece, the wrong blue for the sky or the sea, the wrong green for the leaves or the grass or the café awnings or the leather of the little boy’s lederhosen.

My parents lost all the photos from my childhood in some move or other. I don’t have the straw to spin into gold, the way I do it up here in Mrs Tyburn’s attic. My magic will work on her but not on me. I’ll have to start from scratch, on my own, the old-fashioned way. Except I know they’ll come back for me tomorrow. I know they will.
On page 69 of Harper Collins’ North American edition, we’re in Swan Island’s cafĂ©, the Psychedelicatessen, with the owners, Suzie-Q and Johnny-Come-Lately. The Kid has come in with Jason, the grandson of one of the Wrinklies who takes their homegrown marijuana to sell back on the mainland, helping them maintain their autonomy with the profit. He brings with him all the stuff they can’t grow, that helps keep retirement sweet.

The setting in the Psychedeli captures the aesthetics and politics of Swan Island life:
Inside, blue walls painted with a cloudscape that mimics the sky on a clear summer day gives the Psychedeli a great feeling of spaciousness, which it needs against the hodgepodge of homemade and salvaged furniture and pillows and bean bags that make up the dining room. Hardly anyone uses the bean bags because it’s hard to get up once you’re in one, even for me, and they always talk about getting rid of them but never do. They’ve hung some flags over the counter at the back, all with acronyms like POW- MIA and AFL-CIO, and ones with the Led Zeppelin zeppelin and the Rolling Stones lips.
The Kid and Jason, Suzie and Johnny, settle into a booth at the back and get down to business…
Visit Season Butler's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cygnet.

--Marshal Zeringue