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'Harriet Chance' Offers Glimpse at the Road Not Taken

Algonquin Books

The worlds presented in novels is sometimes entirely invented, and sometimes based on very real people and settings.  But what many novels share in common lies in the characters who inhabit them.

Many of them are young – or at least relatively young and vital.  They’re at a pivotal point in their life – the transition from youth to adulthood, or young adulthood to middle age. But the protagonist in Jonathan Evison’s latest novel bucks that trend. 

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance features a character in the twilight of her life – though it’s presented in part through flashbacks narrated by a seemingly off-screen announcer. Author Janathan Evison is drawn to portraying older, less-glamorous characters compared to the typical protagonist.

"Once you inhabit a character and really understand that character’s circumstances, their age, their generation, their gender and everything like that and you really inhabit them and really empathize with them, then their decisions and everything comes really naturally to you," he says.

Evison visited Boswell Book Company in the fall, and his interview was recorded in front of an audience:

Jonathan Evison’s latest novel is called This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!.  He’s also the author of several others, including The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving.

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