Tiphanie Yanique’s ‘Monster in the Middle’ tackles love and religion

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] For full interview by Scott Simon with author Tiphanie Yanique about her new novel Monster in the Middle, see NPR.

“Monster In The Middle” is the new novel from the acclaimed author of “Land Of Love And Drowning.” Tiphanie Yanique joins us now from Atlanta, where she’s a professor at Emory University. Thanks so much for being with us.

SIMON: Because this is such a beautifully intricate novel that ranges from New York to the Caribbean and Africa, how do you plot it all out? [. . .]

YANIQUE: I know writers are notoriously anal about these kinds of things. But I’m a reader, so mostly what I do is I just read and reread. Like, I’ve read this novel so many times myself so that I could do it in a way that made a reader feel excited about it.

SIMON: Tell us, please, about Fly’s father Gary – religious and then some, longing for a lost love well past what I’ll call the expiration date.

YANIQUE: Yeah. Gary is – he’s a person of deep and complex emotions. And he’s someone who believes in things that are greater than himself. And this is a gift that he has, but it’s also – as many of us who experience the world in this way – it can be a curse. I mean, being able to let things go is an important part of becoming an adult. [. . .]

SIMON: And tell us, please, about Stela – growing up in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands. Her mother was an orphan. How do we see this perhaps affect the view of love that she develops and that Stela takes on as well sometimes?

YANIQUE: You know, we often think of ourselves as solitary people moving around in the world as individuals. But I think that it’s – our individuality is much more communal than we probably realize. Stela herself is a product of her mother. She’s a product of her island. She’s a product of her nation. Her mother has a lot of anxiety about not having had parents. And then that affects the daughter. We think, where did I get this anxiety or this depression or these concerns from? You just have to look a few generations back.

SIMON: And without giving anything away, I spent so much of the novel trying to figure out, OK, where’s the monster in the middle? I’m going to try something on you… [. . .]

For full interview, see https://www.npr.org/2021/10/16/1046686011/tiphanie-yaniques-monster-in-the-middle-tackles-love-and-religion

Also see previous post https://repeatingislands.com/2021/11/14/new-book-monster-in-the-middle/

[Photo by Kay Hinton. See https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/245905/tiphanie-yanique/.]

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