Below, you will find an excerpt from Denise Kinsley’s review of Gérard Gavarry’s Making a Novel. It is especially nice to get to work with Denise as I don’t get to see her much during the school year. Denise is a student in the Jack Kerouac low-residency program and lives on the coast of southern California. She’s working on a collection of short stories now, but she’s already published a book of poems, won an award from the NEA, and received a certificate from The New York Film Academy where she wrote, produced, and directed three short films.
Making a Novel explores Gavarry’s revolutionary approach to language in Hoppla! 1 2 3. He takes three objects for his novel—a coconut palm tree, a cargo ship, and the centaur—and creates entire worlds around them. With these in mind, Gavarry then uses the deuterocanonical Book of Judith as a frame, writing the story of this biblical heroine from the perspective of an adolescent male character named Ti-Jus. Well versed in etymology, the scientific understanding of things, words and proper names issued from ancient Greece, Gavarry applies his knowledge to create new jargon and description for his novel Hoppla!. For example, in the first “panel” of the triptych, Gavarry uses the scientific name for the coconut palm, coco nucifera, and its flower, spadice, as the root for slang when one of Ti-Jus’ teenaged friends expresses annoyance as he tries to open a door while the train is moving, “What the Nucifera!” Another youth replies mockingly, “Spadices, dude, spadices!” Gavarry explains:
This language is a jargon of sorts, or something resembling jargon. Understood only by insiders, it comprises various borrowings, distortions, and wordplay, all having some connection to the coconut palm.
Together with language, art, myth (personal or historical) and memory, Gevarry shows us that the possibilities are endless when writing a novel, and the most fascinating parts are the discoveries (from either accidents or the subconscious) the writer makes along the way. Making a Novel presents different ways to look at language, history and synchronicity. Gevarry refers to the synchronic events as “pleasant surprises”:
The times when suddenly a writer discovers that the hand of fate has worked in his favor. Or at least, this is his impression when, upon rereading his text for the umpteenth time, he suddenly apprehends an unexpected meaning or connotation, a stubborn echo of his own personal story, or a resurgence of some implicit theme he believed to have buried deep in the subtext; and likewise, while doing some research, he comes across a word he never knew existed, but which he immediately recognizes as the one he needed to complete a certain sentence.