Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jincy Willett's "Winner of the National Book Award"

Jincy Willett is the author of Jenny and the Jaws of Life, Winner of the National Book Award, The Writing Class, and Amy Falls Down. Her stories have been published in Cosmopolitan, McSweeney's Quarterly and other magazines.

Here Willett shares some insight into casting an adaptation of Winner of the National Book Award:
I'd love to see Winner of the National Book Award as a movie.

Abigail and Dorcas Mather are fraternal twins living in Rhode Island. Dorcas is virginal, slender, acerbic; she's the head librarian at Squanto. Her sister is plump, sexually voracious, amoral; she kills her husband and becomes a feminist icon. Dorcas narrates the novel as she waits for an imminent hurricane and reads a bestseller her sister has written, a largely false memoir about her travails as an abused wife.
I know Abigail better than anyone else in the world, and if I were asked to explain this or that particular thing, I could probably give a fairly accurate account of her motivations. I can report that duty has never played an even minor part in her decisions; that she is moved solely by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain; that she derives pleasure from an astonishing variety of sources, and pain from astonishingly few; and so on. I can even predict her behavior, with a respectable success rate.

"But I don't understand her at all. To understand you have to do more than predict and explain. You must feel some degree of empathy. I have a greater understanding of cats and internal combustion engines and Iranians than I do of my twin sister Abigail.
Abigail would ideally be played by Cynthia Ettinger, who can definitely play bawds. She was particularly wonderful in Carnivàle.
Learn more about the book and author at Jincy Willett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue