The Emancipation of B

Apr 11th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Roundfire Books

jhp545ca2d7d657eThe Emancipation of B by Jennifer Kavanagh (Roundfire Books)

But it must not be sought for or – heaven forbid!  – dug for.  No, no dredging of the sea bottom here.  That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches.  Patience and faith.  One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From The Sea)

Although this is my first novel and I’ve been writing non-fiction for the last dozen years,  fiction has always been my first love, and this, finally, is something that demanded to be written.

The Emancipation of B came from a dark interior time, and the result is a small interior novel that reveals itself slowly, and yet seems to compel the turning of the page. And, I hope, moves from darkness into the light.

The process was extraordinary – quite unlike the writing of non-fiction. As someone who  worked for many years with novelists, I had known in theory that, in the writing, characters might take over the book; I had no idea how much they would take control, no idea that the resulting book would be such an interweaving of things felt and observed, the detritus of conscious and unconscious life.

Similarly, I didn’t plan to explore particular themes, but some have emerged. They include freedom, mindfulness, and the difference between loneliness and solitude. Other people have talked about it as “a study in male isolation and change”, “a record of a journey to wholeness and connection”,  “B’s world and his desperate search to find his real place in or out of modern life”. You will find your own way of describing it!

Readers asked how autobiographical it was, and I could only say that, as in dreams, it is all me, but isn’t obviously so. Interestingly, although the novel isn’t overtly about me, it actually feels more personal, more exposed, than even quite personal non-fiction, because it comes from a more vulnerable place.

I now feel naked somehow, unfinished, if I’m not engaged in writing. It feels like an accompaniment to my life, or as a novelist friend said, a parallel life. And, yes, I’m working on another…

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