Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amy Bloom on bringing Hollywood – and her own family – out of the closet

The novelist and short story writer explains how the sexual secrets of the 1930s film industry mix with untold stories of her own ancestors in her novel Lucky Us

‘Like most immigrants, we had more than our share of lost stories’... Amy Bloom. Photograph: Elaine Seibert/Elaine Seibert
My children say I only write about four things: love, family, sex and death. I think they’re right and I think the centre of that quartet is love: love between siblings, between parent and child, between lovers, between friends. Lucky Us was an opportunity to write about family, born, found and made, about sisters as I knew them – not the catty, silly girls I often saw in books – about deep friendships that save your life, love affairs that change it and the fissuring of the world as everyday people knew it, during a war.

My family had a small share of criminals: my uncle the bootlegger and strikebreaker (the first was OK with my parents; the second got him banned from the house). My grandfather was deported from Russia to America, directly from jail after a short career as a particularly unsuccessful burglar. Like most immigrants, we had more than our share of lost stories, painful memories and necessary reinventions. My father, as a boy, had been a courier for Murder, Inc, a group of gangsters who lived up to their name. He never spoke about it, or about his wartime career as a spy. My mother became a gossip columnist and never mentioned it (my favourite photograph was of her at 24 years old, unbearably beautiful, utterly chic, in a black-straw cartwheel hat, dark-red lipstick, and a smart black suit, her notepad and gold pen on a cocktail table). 

No comments: