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Caves of Memory

ZZ Packer - Caves of Memory - Carolyn Daughters

“I’ve been interested in … what [Virginia Woolf] calls creating these caves of memory … [in how people] don’t have access to their own psychology.”

“[The new] novel tracks [several characters], carousel-like. I guess people call it alternating points of view. Each character has his or her own little tidbit of information that the other characters don’t have access to, and so to me, that’s interesting, because it builds the wall of the story, and it approximates omniscience without it being an actual omniscient point of view.

I’ve been interested in Virginia Woolf for a long time, and what she calls creating these caves of memory, and I’ve been interested in how a person will do a particular action, and oftentimes they won’t know why they’ve done it, because they don’t have access to their own psychology. And so, when you get these other memories that flood the character, you understand their motivations even more than the character does. So I guess that’s dramatic irony, or something like it. But I like how you can continue to paint over a character and the layers make the character more rich each time you access him or her.”

ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
and the forthcoming novel, The Thousands

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