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Illyria

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Robert Wexler
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 08:00 am:   

I thought I'd start a new thread for this. Here's what Liz said in the other thread:

"On the upside, a short novel called ILLYRIA will be out any day now from PS Publishing. This is a book that I wrote at white heat over 20 days while sick in October. It's the culmination, in a weird way, of so many things I've been striving to write since 1974. I had not intended to write it, but when the muse calls -- actually, more like when the muse demands -- one answers."

And here's the cover.

Illyria cov
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 08:03 am:   

Do you have to be a subscriber of PostScripts to buy this?
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Robert Wexler
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 12:14 pm:   

It's free to subscribers but available to everyone else for purchase: 10/$18 for an unsigned hardcover and 25/$45 for the signed.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   

Thanks Robert. It looks like a nice package.
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Sara George
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 01:45 pm:   

I love the cover. Its so whimsical and interesting. Besides Chip Crockets Christmas Carol this is the nicest cover so far I think. Im looking forward to getting my copy of the book.
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Elizabeth Hand
Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 03:35 am:   

ILLYRIA is a contemporary fantasia on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," centered around two teenage lovers cousins and members of a once-renowned theatrical clan that's forsaken Art for Commerce who become acting rivals of a sort. The story has a lot of autobiographical elements and great personal resonance for me and, as I said elsewhere, touches on some longstanding obsessions acting, the theater, and "Twelfth Night" in particular. In many ways, it's the story I set out to tell when I wrote "The Boy in the Tree" and then WINTERLONG, but I couldn't get a handle on the material then. ILLYRIA is very different it's not science fiction, for starters. But people who've read those works, and later ones like BLACK LIGHT, will pick up on many of the same themes and some of the same iconic (for me) figures. It was a heartbreaking story to write.
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Elizabeth Hand
Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 04:16 pm:   

I adore "Twelfth Night." This story is my attempt to capture my first encounter with it, over thirty years ago. Like many (not all) first experiences, it remains the high point.

While writing ILLYRIA I had a re-immersion course in the play, rereading it, reading about it, watching every version I could get my hands on. Trevor Nunn's film version, with Ben Kngsley as Feste, was wonderful.

As a university freshman, my BFA acting audition was cobbled together from Feste's speeches in the play. I bombed spectacularly -- the stuff of nightmares, though, oddly, I've never had a nightmare about it.

I immediately changed my BFA concentration to playwriting.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 10:46 am:   

Elizabeth: You mentioned above that ILLYRIA was a heartbreaking story to write. I finished reading it this morning -- I took off work to watch the NCAA tournament games, but after starting your book basketball couldn't feel more insignificant. It was also profoundly heartbreaking to read. I've read some of your other work, various short stories and novels, but nothing prepared me for this. I've read a lot of great books in recent years, but few of them feel as personal, natural, and necessary as ILLYRIA. I adore it and will do my best to share it with others. Sorry if this note seems hyperbolic; it's only been an hour or two since I finished it, so I'm still awash with awe and emotion, much like the audience watching your character Rogan sing for the first time. Thanks a lot for writing this.
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Elizabeth Hand
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 05:46 am:   

Kelly,

Thanks so much for liking it -- I don't know what else to say, except that I'm profoundly grateful it touched you and anyone else who read it. I hope it finds an audience -- it had such a small print run.

It was, is, a story very close to me, maybe the one story that is closest to me; the story I'e been trying to write, really, since 1974, which was when I first saw the production of "Twelfth Night" that grounds Illyria (and also when some other shit happened, as the National Lampoon used to put it).

I did a reading from Illyria for the first time this past weekend at the ICFA and was surprised by how shaken I was, reading it aloud in front of an audience. I don't feel like I have a lot of distance from this particular story, which made me worry about it -- just because something means a great deal to the author doesn't necessarily mean it will to a reader.

So, again, heartfelt thanks. It means the world to me.
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Sodadreamer
New member
Username: Sodadreamer

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 04:56 pm:   

I just finished Illyria. It was so intense I couldn't sit still whilst reading it. I walked all over the house, reading it under sunlight next to the kitchen window, shade, and lamplight. I finished it standing on my bed, directly under the chandelier. I can't even describe what I felt reading it. I'm so glad I bought a copy. I want to read Twelfth Night now and watch that film you mentioned.
Thankyou.
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Liz_hand
Junior Member
Username: Liz_hand

Post Number: 113
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 05:58 am:   

Wow, thanks. I love the image of you reading it while standing on the bed under the chandelier! That's like something OUT of the story!

As I think I've said, I wrote that story at white heat over a few weeks. So maybe some of that seeps into the experience of reading it (or not).

But "Twelfth Night" is truly magical. I'm hoping to expand or explode "Illyria" into a longer work about Shakespeare and the theater, but mostly I just want to use "Twelfth Night" again. I swear I could write about that one play forever.

Thanks for writing, I'm so touched you liked the story --

Liz
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Sodadreamer
New member
Username: Sodadreamer

Post Number: 3
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 09:08 am:   

The bit about building a house for something to come and live in, when Aunt Kate is talking about acting, does that apply to writing as well? That you can learn words and grammar and techniques and they're kind of like a structure of a house and then you hope something comes to live inside, like the stories and meanings?
I like the real meaning of the word 'glamour'. Do you think writing could be described as 'glamorous'? because when you look at a novel, it's just pieces of paper with marks on, bound together, but you read it and the words form some sort of spell on the reader making them see and feel things.
After just having typed that, I found this on wiktionary:
'The words "grammar" and "glamour" derive from the same root, relics of a time when being able to read and write was an arcane skill with a whiff of sorcery. A scribe was seen as enchanted ("glamorous").

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