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Author Janette Turner Hospital discusses her work, including her motivation to write A Very Proper Death and her reason for using a pseudonym. She also comments on her [then] upcoming novel Orpheus Lost.
Janette Turner Hospital, in embracing the theme of terrorism, has taken the literary novel back to something akin to Graham Greene's work. She is a thriller writer where the murderers and the victims are 'real.' Orpheus Lost is a powerfully plotted book that has moral gravity and that is also touched by a spirit of mercy. It is a remarkable literary performance that can explain why Joyce Carol Oates described Hospital as a major writer.
As an internationally renowned writer who has lived on four continents and who often feels what she describes as "dislocated," even in her native Australia, Janette Turner Hospital has long centered her novels and stories on characters who inhabit the margins of specific geographical locations. In her acclaimed novel Oyster (1996), however, she uses physical dislocation as a metaphor to explore the nature of narrative itself. Setting Oyster in the forbidding Australian Outback, Hospital contrasts the necessity of maps for people crossing the border to that huge expanse of desert and the unreliability of all maps. In Oyster, readers must become users of maps if they hope to negotiate the complexity of this nonlinear novel. Although maps, stories, and words themselves are no more than "poignant ideas of order," Hospital urges the reader to continue trying to know the story, even if no story (or novel such as Oyster) can be fully known.
The author provides a checklist of the works of Janette Turner
Hospital. He writes: 'This checklist documents the first appearances of the novels, short fiction, edited work, and interviews of Janette Turner Hospital and is limited, with
one exception, to works published in English. It is not a bibliography,
although I identify and try to solve bibliographical problems when they arise' (391).