Thursday, September 19, 2013

Valerie Miner's "Traveling with Spirits"

Valerie Miner is the award-winning author of fourteen books. Her new novel is Traveling with Spirits. Other novels include After Eden, Range of Light, A Walking Fire, Winter’s Edge, Blood Sisters, All Good Women, Movement: A Novel in Stories, and Murder in the English Department. Her short fiction books include Abundant Light, The Night Singers and Trespassing. Her collection of essays is Rumors from the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews and Reportage.

Here Miner dreamcasts an adaptation of Traveling with Spirits:
Oh yes, the movie. Or the mini-series. Well, I’m not holding out much hope. One of my novels, A Walking Fire, was optioned for a film, but eventually the director couldn’t get funding for it. “Not enough action,” the potential backers sighed. Now, this is a book in which a woman is arrested on the felony murder rule, a man is killed in a fire; another man dies. The novel digs deeply into questions of family loyalty and betrayal. And it’s a contemporary revision of King Lear, set in the U.S. during the War in Southeast Asia. Oh, war, did I mention there is war, as well, in this book that doesn’t have enough action?

Well, Traveling with Spirits is a literary novel following a character’s growth of consciousness, but it’s also about death, grief, romance, deep friendship, political intrigue. Seems to me it would make a great film—especially with the back and forth stories from Delhi to Minneapolis to Moorty, an Indian Hill Station. So let’s be optimistic and dream on about the film or the mini-series. When the movie of Traveling with Spirits is made, I see these people as the ideal cast:

Dr. Monica Murphy--Amy Ryan—she would convey the right balance of passion, reserve, self-reflection and sexiness.

Beata Johnson--Audra McDonald—she’s could play Monica’s powerful, beautiful best friend.

Marie Murphy--Ellen Burstyn would do a wonderful job portraying the good and complicated character of Monica’s immigrant Irish mother.

Sudha Badami--Nandita Das would be brilliant as the self-confident, generous, funny, loyal friend of Monica in Moorty, who has given up the lights of Bombay to teach in a small rural school.

Dr. Ashok Nair-- Irrfan Khan would offer nuance to the complex philosophy professor who courts (and perhaps wins over) the reluctant Monica.

Jeanne Murphy—Rosie O’Donnell would be great as Monica’s troubled, sassy younger sister.

Raul Sanchez—Javier Bardem would offer Monica’s Argentinean medical colleague the required combination of smoldering intelligence, hot-headed self-determination and deep concern for his patients.

Kevin Walsh—John Lithgow can play cantankerous. A perfect choice.

Brigid Walsh—Sally Field would be splendid as Kevin’s wife.

Father Daniel—Art Malik would be great as the Goan priest. I’ve been in love with Malik since The Jewel and the Crown.

I’d love to see the film directed by Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta or Sofia Coppola. I could also see it as a four part series. On with the dreaming.
Learn more about the book and author at Valerie Miner's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Valerie Miner.

--Marshal Zeringue