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Fiction Writers Review talks with Robert Thomas

"'I still think it might have ruined the book if I’d known at the start how the story would end, and that’s one reason it needed to be fiction': Robert Thomas chats with Lynette D'Amico about his poetic new novel, Bridge (BOA Editions)."

In a thorough and captivating interview with Lynette D'Amico of Fiction Writers Review, BOA author Robert Thomas talks about the cross-genre nature of Bridge; the fine lines between poetry, prose, and fiction; and the reasons why the book starts with a gun and ends with a gun.

D'Amico says: "Bridge came as a complete surprise to me. A poet friend handed me the book without comment, just read this. Some books are a love affair, an infection, a fever dream. Meaning, if any, shifts from reader to reader, from reading to reading. I’m still reading this slim, unassuming novel. I can’t set is aside, shake it off, move on. Written in 56 brief sections that are organized into three parts, Bridge is stunning. It’s a book that I’ve been carrying around with me for a month."

On the mixed-genre quality of Bridge, Thomas says: "Let me say right from the start that Bridge is based, in part, on experiences I had years ago while working at a law firm. Anyone who worked there at the time would undoubtedly recognize events in the book, and would also recognize that in the book there are some radical departures from the “facts.” So right from the start it was clear in my mind that there was a story to be told. It might be told in poetry or it might be told in a novel or it might be told in a sequence of prose poems, but there was a story . . . As Bridge is partly autobiographical, it certainly could have been written as a memoir, but I don’t think that would have interested me. I always thought of it as something like a sequence of lyrical dramatic monologues. For one thing, although the book is partly autobiographical, I didn’t have an inkling of how it would end until I was maybe two-thirds through the first draft, and it was important to me to keep the book open that way. I didn’t want to know how it would end. I still think it might have ruined the book if I’d known at the start how the story would end, and that’s one reason it needed to be fiction. . . . The question of whether Bridge is poetry or fiction may obscure the fact that, more than anything else, it’s a third genre, a dramatic monologue, and perhaps ideally it would be performed on stage."

Click here to read the entire interview with Robert Thomas.

Bridge is available now at the BOA Bookstore.


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