Q&A with Jackie Polzin: Background information when reading Brood

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Brood

by Jackie Polzin

Brood by Jackie Polzin X
Brood by Jackie Polzin
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  • Published:
    Mar 2021, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Q&A with Jackie Polzin

This article relates to Brood

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Jackie Polzin Jackie Polzin talks about her debut novel, Brood, and how her own experience caring for chickens contributed to it.

First of all, why chickens?

When I was 30, my partner and I got chickens. They were my first pets since childhood. I compensated by giving them a lot of attention, and that attention inspired the book. I knew I could spend time with the ideas the chickens provoked. Some broad ones: that a chicken's egg-heavy existence seldom bears new life; that a chicken is a pet whose value is complicated by its utility, often thought of as less-than when it stops laying eggs; that caring for a chicken yields very little emotional feedback. These ideas aren't stated directly but they're part of the story and quite specific to chickens.

What made you decide to leave the narrator unnamed?

Grief is an isolating force in the story. The narrator is coming to terms with the loss of an identity she had imagined for herself, facing the likelihood she will never be a mother. So it felt natural to write the book this way, from inside the narrator's world. My working title for the book was The Chicken Diaries. It provoked a lot of laughter; I think people imagined the chickens themselves keeping diaries. But it worked for me, as a reminder of how the story operates, close to the narrator's present moment and thinking.

Brood has some things in common with recent autofiction. To what extent was this story autobiographical for you?

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Photo of Jackie Polzin by Travis Olson, courtesy of Penguin Random House

Filed under Books and Authors

Article by Rebecca Foster

This article relates to Brood. It first ran in the March 17, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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