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
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
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.