The author of What Belongs to You had to cut up his manuscript to make sense of it.
“I wrote much of my second book, Cleanness, in a new life: I had published a novel; my partner and I had rented a house and moved in together; I had a dedicated writing room for the first time. It was a small room, with just enough space for a desk and an armchair, a few shelves. In the moment this image captures, I was working on what would become “The Frog King,” the central chapter of Cleanness. I wrote it in fragments, and I was trying to figure out how to structure the scenes and images into the emotional experience I wanted. Finally, I cut out the sections and strung them up around the room, where they stayed for weeks as I arranged and rearranged. The pages made the space feel even smaller, and smallness became a virtue: surrounded by the story, I found my way to the intimacy I wanted it to convey.”