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Elvira Navarro in Conversation with Carlos Labbé

The Chilean writer interviewed the author of A Working Woman and the results were incredible.

Last week, Literary Hub released a stellar interview of Elvira Navarro by none other than Chilean writer Carlos Labbé. Their correspondence is full of gems for fans of either author and particularly for fans of Navarro’s metafictional novel, A Working Woman.

Navarro opens up about various threads that influenced the novel:

“What was in my mind when I was writing was that the logic of the city (Madrid) was in fact different from the way we usually imagine it, as if its laws originated from a sort of subterranean, uncontrollable world that can be seen as either liberating or threatening.”

She also gives some interesting context to the book, including the socioeconomic and political situation in Madrid at the time she wrote and published it.

In addition to discussing the novel, the two authors grapple with some big questions about writing in general, including the lack of authorial control after a book is published (and translated), the role of literary creation during crises, and the idea of writing within a literary tradition:

“I frequently think about the concept of the shadow when I write: writing what is evident by trying to avoid something. The more you flee from resembling someone you detest, the more evidence there is of that flight in your writing. I’m telling you this because however much I would like to locate A Working Woman in one tradition or another, it’s a waste of effort. The fundamental thing is that readers assimilate the book in their own ways.”

Oh, and make sure you read to the end of the interview, where Carlos Labbé surprises us all with a poem responding to the novel.

Read the full interview here.