This Thursday! Come and see C.S.E. Cooney, Nina MacLaughlin, and Sonya Taaffe at Trident books! RSVP here.
Today! Get to know Sonya Taaffe with our quick questions! Sonya’s most recent collection, Forget the Sleepless Shores, was nominated for a Lambda award for Best LGBT Speculative Fiction. Award-winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan calls Sonya “a singular and brilliant voice. . . . she takes my breath away, like a plunge into deep, cold waters.”
Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.
Water. Time. Queerness. Judaism. Memory.
What book do you wish more people knew about?
Emeric Pressburger’s The Glass Pearls (1966) is one of the most extraordinary Holocaust novels I have ever read. The relatable banality of its post-war-incognito Nazi protagonist is troubling in its own right, but it’s also the delivery mechanism for a hauntological intertwining of personal and historical memory that resembles nothing else I’ve encountered in the field—I know that by temperament and interest I am primed to think of stories in terms of their ghosts, but it’s right there in the novel and its ruthless and uncanny transposition of alternate history à clef that packs even more of a punch now than it did on publication, as living memory has died out to leave only secondhand accounts which can be edited, fictionalized, erased. I discovered it a couple of years ago and it took the top of my head off (review). I love the films Pressburger wrote-directed-produced with Michael Powell, but he should be known as a novelist, too.
What do you like to listen to when you write?
All sorts of different things! I don’t make playlists or use music to set a writing mood, but I do tend to gravitate toward music that in some way reflects the concerns of what I’m writing about, with the result that it often works its way into the story, sometimes textually, sometimes subcutaneously. The two albums most often on repeat during the writing of “The Dybbuk in Love,” for example, were the Klezmatics’ Possessed (1997) and Jill Tracy’s Quintessentially Unreal (1996), both of which are quoted or name-checked in-text. “As the Tide Came Flowing In,” on the other hand, takes its title from the folksong “Jenny Storm,” but I listened to almost nothing but sea chanteys and black metal while writing it and I have no idea if any of the latter will be visible to anyone but me.
Sonya Taaffe reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores (Lethe Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, A Mayse-Bikhl, and Ghost Signs. She lives with her husband and two cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.