Wednesday, 14 November, 2018
Update
   Fish import: Wholesale agents maintain vigil at bus stands, railway stations   MMC to honour ex-chief, name Sunaina hotel road after Monica   MMC seals three establishments sans tax docs   Colva locals challenge Vijai to save Gandaulim fly from being displaced   Merger talks with alliance partners, Plan B on cards as BJP observers arrive today

The Delicate Balance of Little Lives

10th November 2018, 03:41 Hrs

BASIL SYLVESTER PINTO  


Recently out with her second novel, ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’ Goan author, Jessica Faleiro aims at making her protagonists realize that coping with losses and suffering is part and parcel of life. Faleiro’s debut novel ‘Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa’ received a heartening response from the literary world and much is expected from her new book as well.  

The author, in an interview with TG Life, spoke at length on her new novel ahead of its Goa release. 


TG Life: What made you decide on the title ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’?   

Jessica Faleiro: Each of the five stories contained in the book focuses on a female protagonist who has lost something and has developed a coping mechanism to deal with that loss. The characters have invested a lot in developing this coping mechanism which allows them to have some sense of balance and control in their lives. This is the ‘delicate balance’ that they’re trying to maintain, always on the edge of teetering out of control with one misstep as defined by them. By ‘Little Lives’ I was being ironic in presenting these five women’s lives whose needs are somehow on the periphery of society’s attention. By writing about these five women, I am in fact saying that their lives are not ‘little’ in any way.  


TG Life: You come across as a writer drawn towards a narrative style with individual stories that stand on their own yet are interlinked to form a novel. How challenging is the process to formulate thoughts where a strand of one story binds with another?  

Jessica: As with my first book ‘Afterlife’ I felt the stories were organically meant to be linked somehow. In ‘Afterlife’, it was the age-old tradition of ghost story-telling that linked the family. In this second book, the women are all from the same community of people living in South Goa. They all move through the Royal Grove luxury resort, in different ways. Your question makes it sound more like it’s a contrived attempt to link the stories together. In reality I got the sense that I was writing about a community of people. So, it was easy to find a common link in the form of a hotel, a place, where they all passed through at some point. Some of the characters in one story also reappear in others. So, we get to see different sides to the same person, depending on who they are interacting with.   


TG Life: What are the facets in ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’ that reveal a Goan identity?  

Jessica: I’ve clearly located the stories in Goa. Apart from that, I’m not sure that they stand out as ‘Goan’ stories and could be read as stories from any community with a more insular outlook on life. I hope their appeal is universal because my stories are not specifically related to a Goan identity.   


TG Life: What has been your modus operandi in realizing your second novel? How long did it take you to complete?   

Jessica: Each of the stories were written at different times. The oldest is ‘Cristina’ which was conceived eight years ago in first-draft form. I don’t have one way of writing a particular book, and I didn’t work continuously on the stories for this book. I wrote them as they came, in between other projects.   


TG Life: You have portrayed women as protagonists in your stories. Is there a particular reason you chose to focus on the particular gender?  

Jessica: It wasn’t a conscious decision. The stories I wanted to tell manifested themselves through the characters and voices of the five women in my book. It’s just how the stories wanted to be revealed.   


TG Life: Have the ideas in the book  arisen from incidents you have heard or witnessed?   

Jessica: It’s about finding a way to live with the inevitability of being traumatised by different kinds of loss. All of life calls us to come to terms with the inevitability of losing the one most previous thing to us, our life. Surviving other losses – of homes, things, people we love, etc. is just practice, in a way, for us learning to let go of that final thing – our last breath on this earth. Everybody is dealing with loss of some kind or the other – some are more severely traumatised than others by it, some are able to deal with it through numbing or resistance, others find more challenging ways to move through the pain of loss and still others may find ways of embracing what they have lost while recovering their sense of joy in life. I wanted these characters to bring the universality of these ideas to light. The characters and the events that unfold, as with my first book, are inspired by bits and pieces of anecdotes overheard and by people I have come across over the years – not from any one person, place or event. Each story is sewn together from research, memory and my imagination. Craft finishes the job.   


 TG Life: Apart from authoring two novels, what are your other notable published works?   

Jessica: I have a travelogue and a short story published in the soon-to-be-released anthology by the Joao Roque Literary Journal entitled ‘The Brave New World of Goan Writing 2018.’ My work has also been published in Asia Literary Review, Forbes, Indian Quarterly, India Currents, Coldnoon, the Joao Roque Literary Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Muse India and the Times of India as well as in various anthologies. I recently wrote a travel article on Literary London for Forbes magazine and ran a 5-week short story writing certificate course in collaboration with Chowgule College.   


TG Life: What are you currently working on?  

Jessica: At the moment, I’m running various workshops till January. The next one is a Travel Writing workshop on November 17 in Panaji, in collaboration with ‘Thus.’ I’m working on two commissioned pieces of writing at the moment, both for anthologies – one a narrative essay and the other a short story. I’m also currently the Commissioning Editor for the Joao Roque Literary Journal.  




(The author will be in conversation with Roxana Singh, Head of Department of English, Carmel College for Women at the Goa release of her second novel on November 10 at 6 pm, The Dogears Bookshop, Margao)   BASIL SYLVESTER PINTO  


Recently out with her second novel, ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’ Goan author, Jessica Faleiro aims at making her protagonists realize that coping with losses and suffering is part and parcel of life. Faleiro’s debut novel ‘Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa’ received a heartening response from the literary world and much is expected from her new book as well.  

The author, in an interview with TG Life, spoke at length on her new novel ahead of its Goa release. 


TG Life: What made you decide on the title ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’?   

Jessica Faleiro: Each of the five stories contained in the book focuses on a female protagonist who has lost something and has developed a coping mechanism to deal with that loss. The characters have invested a lot in developing this coping mechanism which allows them to have some sense of balance and control in their lives. This is the ‘delicate balance’ that they’re trying to maintain, always on the edge of teetering out of control with one misstep as defined by them. By ‘Little Lives’ I was being ironic in presenting these five women’s lives whose needs are somehow on the periphery of society’s attention. By writing about these five women, I am in fact saying that their lives are not ‘little’ in any way.  


TG Life: You come across as a writer drawn towards a narrative style with individual stories that stand on their own yet are interlinked to form a novel. How challenging is the process to formulate thoughts where a strand of one story binds with another?  

Jessica: As with my first book ‘Afterlife’ I felt the stories were organically meant to be linked somehow. In ‘Afterlife’, it was the age-old tradition of ghost story-telling that linked the family. In this second book, the women are all from the same community of people living in South Goa. They all move through the Royal Grove luxury resort, in different ways. Your question makes it sound more like it’s a contrived attempt to link the stories together. In reality I got the sense that I was writing about a community of people. So, it was easy to find a common link in the form of a hotel, a place, where they all passed through at some point. Some of the characters in one story also reappear in others. So, we get to see different sides to the same person, depending on who they are interacting with.   


TG Life: What are the facets in ‘The Delicate Balance of Little Lives’ that reveal a Goan identity?  

Jessica: I’ve clearly located the stories in Goa. Apart from that, I’m not sure that they stand out as ‘Goan’ stories and could be read as stories from any community with a more insular outlook on life. I hope their appeal is universal because my stories are not specifically related to a Goan identity.   


TG Life: What has been your modus operandi in realizing your second novel? How long did it take you to complete?   

Jessica: Each of the stories were written at different times. The oldest is ‘Cristina’ which was conceived eight years ago in first-draft form. I don’t have one way of writing a particular book, and I didn’t work continuously on the stories for this book. I wrote them as they came, in between other projects.   


TG Life: You have portrayed women as protagonists in your stories. Is there a particular reason you chose to focus on the particular gender?  

Jessica: It wasn’t a conscious decision. The stories I wanted to tell manifested themselves through the characters and voices of the five women in my book. It’s just how the stories wanted to be revealed.   


TG Life: Have the ideas in the book  arisen from incidents you have heard or witnessed?   

Jessica: It’s about finding a way to live with the inevitability of being traumatised by different kinds of loss. All of life calls us to come to terms with the inevitability of losing the one most previous thing to us, our life. Surviving other losses – of homes, things, people we love, etc. is just practice, in a way, for us learning to let go of that final thing – our last breath on this earth. Everybody is dealing with loss of some kind or the other – some are more severely traumatised than others by it, some are able to deal with it through numbing or resistance, others find more challenging ways to move through the pain of loss and still others may find ways of embracing what they have lost while recovering their sense of joy in life. I wanted these characters to bring the universality of these ideas to light. The characters and the events that unfold, as with my first book, are inspired by bits and pieces of anecdotes overheard and by people I have come across over the years – not from any one person, place or event. Each story is sewn together from research, memory and my imagination. Craft finishes the job.   


 TG Life: Apart from authoring two novels, what are your other notable published works?   

Jessica: I have a travelogue and a short story published in the soon-to-be-released anthology by the Joao Roque Literary Journal entitled ‘The Brave New World of Goan Writing 2018.’ My work has also been published in Asia Literary Review, Forbes, Indian Quarterly, India Currents, Coldnoon, the Joao Roque Literary Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Muse India and the Times of India as well as in various anthologies. I recently wrote a travel article on Literary London for Forbes magazine and ran a 5-week short story writing certificate course in collaboration with Chowgule College.   


TG Life: What are you currently working on?  

Jessica: At the moment, I’m running various workshops till January. The next one is a Travel Writing workshop on November 17 in Panaji, in collaboration with ‘Thus.’ I’m working on two commissioned pieces of writing at the moment, both for anthologies – one a narrative essay and the other a short story. I’m also currently the Commissioning Editor for the Joao Roque Literary Journal.  


(The author will be in conversation with Roxana Singh, Head of Department of English, Carmel College for Women at the Goa release of her second novel on November 10 at 6 pm, The Dogears Bookshop, Margao)