Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Janet Fitch's "Chimes of a Lost Cathedral"

Janet Fitch is an American author and teacher of fiction writing.

She is the author of the #1 national bestseller White Oleander, a novel translated into 24 languages, an Oprah Book Club book and the basis of a feature film, Paint It Black, also widely translated and made into a 2017 film, and an epic novel of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M.

The journey that began with The Revolution of Marina M. concludes in Fitch's new novel, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, in which passionate young poet, lover, and idealist Marina Makarova emerges as a woman in full during the transformative years of the Russian Revolution. Having undergone unimaginable hardship, she’s now at the height of her creative power and understanding, living the shared life of poetry--when the revolution finally reveals its true direction for the future.

Here Fitch dreamcasts an adaptation of The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral:
I definitely use actors as I’m thinking of my characters. They allow me to observe physicality, characterize gestures and voices, that certain flavor of bodily presence. I can use photographs and films to formulate descriptions of facial expressions and physical attitudes, and more than that, the feel of a certain personality—often a meld between the actor and a specific performance of theirs.

The actress I would imagine playing Marina Makarova would be a young Franka Potente as I saw her in The Bourne Identity—pretty sometimes, but also plain if in a bad situation, very physical and passionate and unrestrained, quick to laugh, a fighter, always authentic to her own nature.

Her father I always saw as Bergman’s great star Erland Josephson—bright and a bit arrogant, with a current of sensuality behind his image of control. Her spiritualist, society matron mother I imagined as a prematurely silverhaired Vanessa Redgrave.

Her friends? The avid Marxist Varvara I could imagine as Helena Kallianiotes from Five Easy Pieces—the obsessive hitchhiker--or maybe Geraldine Chaplin in her no-shit mode in Remember My Name. Mina Katzevs I always imagined as Julia Sawalha as Saffy from Ab Fab, the resentful good girl. Zina Ostrovskaya I always saw as Helena Bonham-Carter.

Marina’s lover Kolya, her grand passion, I imagined along the lines of a young Klaus Maria Brandauer--that sly, clever, charming rascally guy. What we call a Charming Bastard. Genya, the revolutionary poet and Marina’s husband, is physically like the very young Gerard Depardieu, but more and more I saw his young Brando-like complexity, the bursts of bravado, heroism or violence, also the extreme tenderness as well as a tendency to sulk.

The crime boss Arkady von Princip I always saw as Bergman’s remarkable star Max von Sydow and the one-armed Stepan Radulovich as the Russian star Nikita Mikhalkov. Ukashin, the mystic, was an intense Ben Kingsley.

What director would I like to film Chimes of a Lost Cathedral? Andrei Tarkovsky, of course. I watched The Mirror over and over in the writing of the book. Tarkovsky’s father was a famous Russian poet, too, so it would complete the circle.
Visit Janet Fitch's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Revolution of Marina M..

--Marshal Zeringue