A Conversation with Melissa Bank
Q. The women in The Girls' Guide have a hard time resisting stereotypically feminine behavior. Is it harder for women to resist girlie clichés than for men to resist macho ones? How does the battle differ?
A. Everybody has had a Jamie boyfriend, the rudderless young guy, the free spirit. How do you explain the incredible consistency of the contemporary romantic experience?
Q. Prefacing your interview in Salon, Cynthia Joyce made reference to "a slew of other recently published single-women titles." Is this a new genre? What's the literary legacy behind it? How would you say writers like Jane Austen or Sylvia Plath relate to this new work from women writers? How would you characterize this new wave of female voices?
A. How is a writer's gender relevant to a work of modern fiction? We've had women's magazines for a long time, but now there are women's Web sites and women's cable channels, among other girl-centric media. What are your views about this trend? Is there such a thing as a women's movie or book?
Q. Do you feel that The Girls' Guide is a feminist book? Why or why not?
A. Nature is mostly absent from Jane's world. She loves dogs and the beach, but Nature with a capital N doesn't come up much. In what ways are the stories, and Jane, defined by the city environment.
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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