‘Does any writer have the right to tell any story?’ Lacuna author Fiona Snyckers talks about writing Lucy Lurie, who is ‘not a metaphor’
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Pan Macmillan recently chatted to Fiona Snyckers about her highly charged new novel, Lacuna, a response to JM Coetzee’s 1999 Booker Prize-winning novel Disgrace.

Lacuna is written from the point of view of Lucy Lurie, who decides that she won’t be silenced, that her rape is not a metaphor: This is her story, and no one can take it away from her.

In the interview, Snyckers explains how she felt after reading Disgrace, why she thought that Lacuna was an important book to write, and shares five of her favourite quotes from her novel.

Read the interview:

Please introduce Lacuna

Lacuna is a metatextual response to JM Coetzee’s Disgrace. It is written from the perspective of Lucy Lurie who takes issue with the way a celebrated male author, John Coetzee, has chosen to represent her experience of having been gang raped. It asks the question, ‘Does any writer have the right to tell any story?’ It is also a story of healing from trauma, and of negotiating the complexities of being white in post-apartheid South Africa.

What were your first thoughts after you finished reading Disgrace?

I quickly realised that the rape of Lucy Lurie functioned as a metaphor for the overthrow of white supremacy in South Africa. I was struck by how flawed that metaphor was in that it portrayed white South Africans as somehow equivalent to a woman who has suffered a gang rape. The truth is that white South Africans have, by every possible metric, flourished as never before during the post-apartheid years. Coetzee’s fantasy that a mixed-race baby will somehow be unencumbered by history and become the future of this country struck me as equally flawed.

More on Lacuna:

Categories Fiction South Africa

Tags Disgrace Fiona Snyckers Interviews JM Coetzee Lacuna Pan Macmillan SA

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