Interview with Stephen Douglas

Is this a religious novel?
I suppose, yes, it is. The first six chapters are all about, basically, suffering. I try to show what suffering is through the 'normal' happenings in the day-to-day lives of bright bourgeois twenty-somethings these days - the kind of events you'd find in any bildungsroman, updated twenty-first century style. These first six chapters show through the events the immediate motivation - the 'motivation in the moment' as scholars of the Law of Karma might put it - for what is described as having happened to the narrator in the final chapter. The events of these first chapters are also, of course, the manifestation of the long-term motivation - the 'causal motivation' - of the narrator's life-course. These events are the embodiment of or are caused by the imprints of what the characters have previously done on the characters' mental continuums. In this sense, yes, it is a very religious novel. It's all about the iron law of karma and, of course, emptiness. These are the essential concepts of Buddhist thought. But I wanted readers to be able to connect with the novel, who know nothing of religion and who have no interest in Buddhism. So I told a story that stands on its own two feet, even without this religious aspect.
What's your favourite literary quotation?
I can't remember exactly the quote. I'm really attracted to the idea that "novels are the storehouse of our values". Writing Eurotrash, I had this in mind. I set out to capture something of this unique moment in human civilisation. Some people are just so free. Jamie's uncle says it something like "lives like yours, your freedom, people died to give you this. You must justify their sacrifice. You must exercise your freedom." By comparison to other ages and other civilisations. For example, here's a young man and a young woman. Teenagers really. They meet thousands of miles away from home. They decide to share a place. Just for convenience. They fall in love. Why shouldn't they? It's such a common occurrence today, in every western city. It probably happens every day a thousand times in Brixton, Belgrade, Brooklyn, wherever... And yet it's so unique in human history. I mean.... This is the first moment in ten thousand years that the sexes can be so free with one another. It's a million miles away from what would happen in silently being slaughtered Raqaa today or in Dublin in the time of my parents' generation or even in a lot of the world today. I wanted to record this moment. I hope it lasts forever. Here at least. Perhaps it won't. A novel may well be the best way to preserve this moment in all of its complexity and simplicity. Maybe someone today somewhere where this freedom has not yet evolved will read this and use it as a, a handbook, well an inspiration. They will see how casually free a consenting woman and a consenting man's relations could be once.
Published 2016-04-29.
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Books by This Author

Alejo de Focking Eurotrash
Price: Free! Words: 39,250. Language: British English. Published: November 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
“Alejo de Focking Eurotrash” is about the different ways a young woman's sudden death plays out amid the interdependent love affairs of twenty-something college friends in Washington DC.