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Family offers a microcosm of larger cultural dramas

April 8, 2015

In an interview by Kim Hill, Kate De Goldi commented on the role of family in writing (her own and family as a social setting more generally):

“I guess families tell their stories to each other in order to understand the contours of the family, the tribe … and that of course is what a writer is always doing – the narrative is an act of exploration, an attempt to understand – behaviour, existential questions, character tics … at some deep level, what it is to be human.” (p.135)

Of her own extended – and close – family, she notes “It was a kind of instant and ongoing friendship group I’ve always found remarkably sustaining.” (p.137)

Among other tales she told, De Goldi notes: “As to the subject matter of my stories, I suppose mental illness, family dysfunction, anxiety – they’re metaphors as much as anything for that family/community frailty I mentioned, that long dawning awareness of existential aloneness and the essential temporariness of happiness and security, which occurs in adolescence. That’s rich territory. I like to look at that in different ways. Family offers, I suppose, a microcosm of larger cultural dramas. Who am I? How do I define myself against these people? How can I connect? How much can I know anyone? And so on.” (pp.138-139)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine; italics in original) ‘Kate De Goldi: Interviewed by Kim Hill‘ in Words Chosen Carefully: New Zealand Writers in Discussion pp.134-153, Ed. Siobhan Harvey. Cape Catley Ltd: Auckland 2010

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