Ana: Today we have Uvi Poznansky introducing their novel, Apart From Love. I haven't read this book myself, but Uvi was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Uvi, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?
Uvi: This is a story of forbidden love between Ben, a dropout medical student who comes back to his childhood home in Santa Monica, and Anita, a plain, uneducated twenty-six years old girl, who is married to his father.
To say that Love appears sparingly in the text would be an understatement. Ben and Anita seem to avoid saying this word, quite deliberately at times, even when being consumed by its fire.
Because of her past, Anita is skeptical of the idea of love. Here she is the age of sixteen, during her first meeting with Lenny: "After a while I whispered, like, “Just say something to me. Anything.” And I thought, Any other word apart from Love, ‘cause that word is diluted, and no one knows what it really means, anyway."
Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Uvi: Behind his father's back, Ben finds themselves increasingly drawn to Anita. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him.
Meanwhile, Lenny keeps a secret from both of them: his ex-wife, Ben’s mother, a talented pianist, has been stricken with an early-onset Alzheimer. Taking care of her gradually weighs him down.
What emerges in these characters is a struggle, a desperate, daring struggle to find a path out of conflicts, out of isolation, from guilt to forgiveness.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Uvi: Over a year ago I wrote a short story about a twelve years old boy coming face to face, for the first time in his life, with the sad spectacle of dying. He watches his father trying to revive his frail grandma, and later he attempts the same technique on the fish tilting upside down in his new aquarium:
“I cannot allow myself to weep. No, not now. So I wipe the corner of my eye. Now if you watch closely, right here, you can see that the tail is still crinkling. I gasp, and blow again. I blow and blow, and with a last-gasp effort I go on blowing until all is lost, until I don’t care anymore, I mean it, I don’t care but the tears, the tears come, they are starting to flow, and there is nothing, nothing more I can do--”
I set the story aside, thinking I was done with it. But the character of the boy, Ben, came back to me and started chatting, chatting, chatting in my head. So, in writing the novel Apart From Love, I asked myself, what if I ‘aged’ him by fifteen years? Where would he be then? Would he still admire his father as a hero, or will he be disillusioned at that point? What secrets would come to light in the life of this family? How would it feel for Ben to come back to his childhood home, and have his memories play tricks on him? What if I introduce a girl, Anita, a redhead who looks as beautiful as his mother used to be, but is extremely different from her in all other respects? And what if this girl were married to his father? What if the father were an author, attempting to capture the thoughts, the voices of Ben and Anita, in order to write his book?
So the process of writing became, for me, simply listening to the characters and trying, as fast as I could, to capture their thoughts.
My role as an author was merely suggesting a place, coming up with the stage set, imagining the way they see the scene, for example at night, with the two luminous tips, which mark the hands of the alarm clock down there, in the hall.
Other times I would bring the characters outdoors. Take for example San Vicente Avenue in Santa Monica, with its gorgeous naked coral trees. Here is how Ben sees them: “Above me, the bare limbs—some of which have been pruned recently—are branching apart, and looking at them you can imagine a knee here, an elbow there, someone wrestling, someone in embrace.”
Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Uvi: If you liked The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster, you will like Apart From Love, because it brings to the fore that conflicted father-son relationship and the pain of coming of age.
Also, if you liked the book Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying by Ram Dass, you will like Apart From Love. In it, you may find the descriptions of Natasha, Ben's mother who has been stricken with early-onset Alzheimer's, particularly poignant and heart-wrenching.
I would also add Still Alice by Lisa Genova. In my book, the mother, Natasha, suffers early onset Alzheimer, and her son constantly wonders about her perspective, what she knows and remembers.
Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Uvi: Apart From Love is my debut novel. I have published short stories, some of which are available to read on my website, uviart.com. Also, I have published children books and even created animations for them. You can see these animations in my author page on amazon. (Simply go down the page to the two little icons under Author Video, and you will know what to do...)
Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Uvi: Readers can buy my book through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, simply by searching for the author name or by the ISBN: 978-0-9849932-0-8. Apart From Love is available as an ebook on the Kindle (ASIN: B006WPITP0), on the Nook (BN ID: 2940013704022) and on the iPad and iPhone. The iBookstore is accessed from within the iBooks app. From the bookshelf view in iBooks, tap Store to open the iBookstore. From the iBookstore, you can search for books. Try searching using the author name (Uvi Poznansky) or using the book name.
Readers may subscribe to my blog to be notified of my next novel and to read my posts.
Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Uvi: The first three chapters are available on Amazon.