Rumpus: I’m curious about how the act of performance plays out in the book, and what it means to you as a writer.

Chiem: I think that when a person goes through a very tough childhood, or grief or depression, it becomes some kind of secret that we have to sometimes bury or hide to get on with the day to day. It becomes a performance. When you meet someone who you have affection or affinity for, they tend to force you to perform differently, perform honestly. Corvus goes through that in the book. On an interpersonal level, anytime we have a personal language with anyone, like building a new language with that person, it makes the end of that relationship all the more staggering. You actually lose how to speak. And in death or the end of a relationship, you also lose that role you’d learned to play.

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