As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently at work on my first novel, tentatively titled “The Whalesinger’s Daughter”. I have written a number of short stories, most of which have been published (see the publications tab on the main menu), but this is my first go at long form fiction, and I must say it has been a revelation. Where short stories constrict, novels unleash. I am half way through the first revision, and have so far found the entire experience exhilarating. Unlike short stories, a novel allows you to deal with multiple themes at the same time. Those that have risen to the top in this project are: 1)The Idea of Belonging: we all want to feel that we are part of a group, but in this modern age, the old divisions based on race, religion and place of origin have begun to blur. Your grandfather may have been Norwegian (or Chinese, or Italian) but that doesn’t make you Norwegian (or Chinese, or Italian). You can read about these places and the cultures that took root there, but unless you grew up in these cultures, you can never truly call them your own. Absent this built in sense of communal identity, we must each seek out those groups to which we can comfortably belong. 2)Are we defined by the culture we inhabit, or is that culture defined by those that inhabit it? The answer to this question is yes and both cases. We are all influenced by the culture within which we live, but that culture also pushes back on us, changing us in ways that we may not even be aware of. 3)The power of family to shape us cannot be underestimated.
These are only a few of the themes and idea that I am playing with in this work. I will give more details later, as well as a full synopsis. I don’t know if the picture below will end up being the cover or not, but the image definitely conveys the mood of the novel.