For this week’s installment of Weekly Chats, we are joined by Joanna Briscoe & Sofka Zinovieff to discuss Joanna’s sixth bestselling, critically acclaimed novel, The Seduction.
This book explores the deep unravelings that can occur in a perfect family life, with love, danger, temptation & the fear of the dreaded therapists chair. Join us for a conversation between two brilliant writers who tend to err towards the darker themes in life. This chat is like a meeting of two great minds, covering writing about taboos, sex, LGBTIQA relationships & the fringes of society.
The book enters with protagonist Beth’s life in the present day being turned upside down, then quickly parallelled with her life one year ago as an artist living canalside with her lovely husband & child. But at the same time, Beth’s troubled feeling that it is all ‘too good’ & that this perfect life will all come tumbling down from her abandonment issues as a teenager. Eventually, Beth’s work as an artist becomes darker & a psychological breakdown is imminent. Seeking therapy, Dr Tamara Bywater steps in as Beth’s attractive, successful therapist. Soon her charismatic therapist has a hold over her like no other…
- The incredibly intimate setting of love & adoration that occurs with you & your therapist.
- Joanna on the deep connections people feel with their therapists: “The idea of fantasising who your therapist may be very common”.
- Joanna on “transference”: the projection of your past feelings onto another person, whether that is love, anger, resentment or the sense of mixing someone up as to be your parent.
- Joanna on her writing that touches on the savage, dark underbelly of the world that is forbidden & perhaps taboo.
- Is it hard to find forbidden love in a more liberated, tolerant world? Writing about LGBTIQA relationships from the 1990’s to today. “A kind of forbidden or transgressive love is hard to find these days.”
- Joanna on Sofka’s novel Putney, a book about child abuse set in the 1970’s & the change in the dialogue around minors & sexualisation.
- “It changes in both directions, but definitely in the right directions”.
- The idea of “mating in captivity” that is too cozy & nice, & human’s need for the forbidden & great unknown. Joanna on the harmlessness of fantasy in longer marriages & the sense of “missing out” that the protagonist, Beth experiences.
- Joanna on her troubled relationship with her own mother that has remained as a theme in her writing & life. “I am kind of changing things right now”.
- Sofka on her new novel based in Greece about a woman having a love affair with a terrorist.
- Joanna on her love of Sofka’s lyrical prose style. “Is it the prose that motivates you in the first place?”
- Joanna on her ‘darker side’ that surfaces more so in her writing than in her day to day life.
- Joanna on how she builds a bestseller.
- Joanna on her ideal writing space, the British Library with friends who help one another focus & not procrastinate.
- “Why did i choose this as a profession?” Joanna on her tendencies to being a very sociable creature who happens to also be a writer, one of the most isolating lines of work.
- Plus we have two bonus readings from Joanna from The Seduction.