What is it about?

lodgemccabe512 “A novel is a long answer to the question ‘What is it about?’ I think it should be possible to give a short answer - in other words, I believe a novel should have a thematic and narrative unity that can be described. Each of my novels corresponds to a particular phase or aspect of my own life: for example, going to the University of California at the height of the Student Revolution, being an English Catholic at a period of great change in the Church, getting on to the international academic conference circuit; but this does not mean they are autobiographical in any simple, straightforward sense. I begin with a hunch that what I have experienced or observed has some representative (i.e., more than merely private) significance that could be brought out by means of a fictional story. To begin the novel I need to discover the structural idea that will generate the story: two professors passing each other over the North Pole on their way to exchange jobs, for example, or a parallel between the antics of globetrotting academics and the adventures of the knights of chivalric romance. I seem to have a fondness for binary structures, which predates my interest, as a literary critic, in structuralism. I use comedy to explore serious subjects, and find Mikhail Bakhtin 's idea that the novel is an inherently carnivalesque form, subverting monologic ideologies by laughter and a polyphony of discourses, immensely appealing. I am fascinated by the power of narrative, when skillfully managed, to keep the reader turning the pages, but I also aim to write novels that will stand up to being read more than once.”

~ David Lodge