I have a tragic sense of life and I use—I use violence in a way tragic writers have always done. It allows for exemplary behavior in some way.
Click play to listen. Recorded on November 13, 2004.
Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates discusses her 2004 novel The Falls, set in Niagara Falls over many years during the early Love Canal litigation. After reading an excerpt involving a meeting between attorney Dirk Burnaby and his petitioner Nina Olshaker in 1961, Oakes explains that she wanted to write about the tragic conflict between nature and man’s ability to harness energy via the factories that made the city of Niagara Falls. She muses on historical fiction and her novel’s real-life antecedents, her tragic plots, and her artistic methods and output in relation to this tale of a passionate love affair and marriage that begets a corrosive family drama of distrust, greed, murder, and love.
Above: Photograph by Dmitri Markine, 2007.