in conversation about her new novel, Innocents and Others, about aspiration, film, work, and love.
“The brilliant Dana Spiotta had me from page one of Innocents and Others—a lithely intelligent, moving inquiry into the mysterious compositions of art and friendships.”—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
Innocents and Others tracks the friendship of two women, both filmmakers: Meadow, who makes art films, and Carrie, who makes commercially successful films with a feminist slant. Their friendship is complicated, but their devotion to each other trumps their wildly different approaches to film and to life. Interspersed in the novel is the story of Jelly, a master of seduction whose only encounters are on the phone, and Sarah, an unblessed woman who commits a horrible crime. All of these women grapple with the question of how to be good: a good lover, a good friend, a good mother, a good artist. They all fall short, but as they struggle toward an acceptance of their limits, they approach a kind of release. A startlingly acute observer of the way we live now, Spiotta is also masterful at evoking the corrosive nature of fame, technology, and progress, the tyranny of the body, the will to become something, and the longing for connection and meaning.
Dana Spiotta is the author of Stone Arabia, a National Books Critics Circle Award finalist, and Eat the Document, a finalist for the National Book Award. Spiotta is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize for Literature. She lives in Syracuse, New York.
Critic Greil Marcus's latest book is Real Life Rock.