Goldie Goldbloom's was born in Western Australia but currently lives in Illinois where she has worked as a teacher in both high school and elementary school, and as a librarian. Her fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly, Narrative, and Prairie Schooner. Her stories have been translated into more than ten languages. Goldie studied at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and is currently working on her Ph.D. She lives in Chicago with her eight children and a cat.
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Goldie Goldbloom chats with Lisa Guidarini about her first novel, The Paperbark Shoe, set in 1940s Australia
You chose to set the book in your native Australia. Do you believe it would have been as effective if the setting had been, say, the 1930s Dust Bowl in the United States, or was the Australian setting essential?
I'm always excited when someone asks me a question that I haven't been asked before, especially one that makes me think deeply. I am imagining right now, what my novel might have been like set in the US during the 1930s dustbowl. And what I have (ha!) is a failure of imagination. I don't know enough about rural America to write well about it. The red dirt of Australia is still underneath my fingernails. But perhaps you were really asking if someone else, someone American had written this book, could it have been set in the dustbowl? Hmmm. Good question! I once saw a version of Othello set in Manhattan, in modern language, and it was translatable. Themes of isolation and xenophobia and heartbreak and loss are universal, but in a squeaky little corner of my soul I still want to believe that The Paperbark Shoe had to be set in Western Australia, in Wyalkatchem, in 1943.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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