Rumpus: Where would you put your book in a bookstore? Aside from prominently displayed? Fiction? Poetry? If you could make up a category for your book to sit in, what would it be? “Families comforted by a bird” is one that comes to mind…
Max Porter: I accept that my book is an act of aggression against those categories. I hope if it’s shelved in poetry it hops, late at night, into fiction. I hope it can be spotted in many sections. Or is carried around the bookstore in the bookseller’s pocket like a troublesome pet. For a long time it was in the “Death and Bereavement” category on Amazon and I was acutely worried about people mistaking it for a self-help book. It might not help.
A very relatable conversation with Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers. How to speak of a book that embraces hybridity and blends form? In a rigidly categorical market, how to present the non-categorical? As someone who is about to publish her own “families comforted by a bird” book, I also had a good laugh.
(Photos: “Non-conformist” by Jean Fraipont, 2011.)