Monday, October 05, 2009

Guest Post by Dina Nayeri, Co-Author of Another Faust

Favorite Epigraph that never made it into the book

One of my favorite things about Another Faust is the epigraphs at the beginning of every chapter. We actually had a lot of discussion about this whole concept with editors, early readers, and each other. On one hand, the epigraphs can be confusing and they might be a challenge to figure out. (In fact, almost every person I've asked still can't pick out where Goethe makes a guest appearance. I love that!) On the other hand, they add a sense of mystery and timelessness to the novel that makes it unique. And if there's one thing I've learned about being a writer, it's that whether or not people like you, you should strive always to be unique and different.

In the end, I'm glad the epigraphs stayed. My only wish is that we had room to put in all the various ideas we had (for that, of course, we would need a dozen books!). If you're read Another Faust, you know that the main point of the epigraphs is to show Vileroy's work throughout the ages and all the times that her path crosses with famous people in history and literature (and the way she just happens to be there during all the world's momentous events). Below is one of the epigraphs that was cut early in the game: Hector's battle with Achilles. The reason this epigraph was cut was that each epigraph actually relates to its chapter somehow (e.g., the epigraph about the blue box precedes the chapter about the book box, the epigraph about the moths precedes the chapter where the moths are introduced) and this one just didn't fit in.

"The deep iron cauldron swayed at the edge of the foremost battlement like a megakiloton globe on the shoulders of a giant. The archers lined the city wall, squinting to see the battlefield beneath the noonday sun. Under the waving flags, above the main gate, stood the warrior with a crimson flash on his helmet. The archers near him stood away from respect, and from fear of the flaxen-haired woman with him.

The woman with blanched skin was beautiful and awful. She looked into the bubbling oil in the cauldron and touched it with her hand. The warrior saw something in the black pool. It was himself, the day before, fighting outside the city gates, shield and spear cutting through armies. His men rallied behind him, yelling his name, "Hector! Hector!" The woman touched the boiling liquid again. They saw the great Achilles, his stride like a hind, his killing a beautiful dance. Hector understood the vision the woman had given him. His own maid servant, first among his house, had shown him his killer. It would be at the hands of the invulnerable one. Hector looked up, at his men, at the merciless eyes of the woman, at the Greek army advancing. They had already begun battering the gates below. He looked at her and walked down the battlement. He would die a good death‹one worth a good story. She stood above the gates alone, the army churning below her. She turned to leave, but before doing so, tipped the cauldron, the boiling
waterfall, the burning screams, all a sweet epic in her ears."

Aside by me: Another Faust is by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. It released in August 2009.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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