What novelist Chloe Lane reads

Novelist Chloe Lane publishes her second novel, Arms & Legacy, this month.

Victoria Palombit

Novelist Chloe Lane publishes her second novel, Arms & Legacy, this month.

Christchurch writer Chloe Lane is releasing her second novel, Arms & Legacy (Te Herenga Waka University Press, RRP $30), following her first, The Swimmers, this month.

I have just finished reading Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1950s novel, Le Voyeur. It’s a short, slippery murder mystery.

The narrator is obsessive, particular and unreliable – he could also be the killer. As he remembers the day’s events in ever-increasing detail, Robbe-Grillet creates an incredible layering effect. It’s a strange read, sometimes disorienting, but also pleasantly tense.

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I hosted a monthly artistic writing workshop at The Physics Room in Ōtautahi. We read some of my favorite art writers like Peter Schjeldahl and Amy Sillman, while exploring more formally innovative writing by Donald Barthelme and Garielle Lutz.

An artist brought in a text he had written for an upcoming exhibition – it took the form of a list. It inspired me to revisit the brilliant essay collections An Elemental Thing and Works On Paper by Eliot Weinberger. Facts, but make them poetic and moving.

Padgett Powell’s The Interrogative Mood, a novel written entirely in questions, seemed like the next logical step. I loved going back to this book. Powell is one of the funniest writers on the planet. He can also write a straight story or essay, but don’t be put off by the experimental elements – he’ll break your heart with those too.

The two books I’m most looking forward to reading next are Magda Szabó’s The Door – a sort of spooky domestic tale – and Sarah Jane Barnett’s Notes on Womanhood, which, unsurprisingly, is getting rave reviews.


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