“If you don’t push against the mirror, how do you know you’re standing in front of it?” asks author Martin Pousson. His PEN award-winning novel Black Sheep Boy, also an L.A. TimesPick of the Week, inspired Susan Larson (NPR The Reading Life) to say: “An unforgettable novel-in-stories about growing up gay in French Acadiana, so vivid and almost fairy tale-like, drawing on folklore from the region, and yet so brutally realistic. Brilliant. I loved this book.” I loved it too, for Pousson’s poetic prose, among other reasons. I’ve been able to ask Martin Pousson a few questions about the novel. His answers reflect his literary acuity.
In Brothers published by Bold Strokes Books, protagonist Jamus back-burners his gay life to raise his infant brother after their parents die in a car wreck. Intrigued by the concept and by the book as I read it, I wanted to ask author Ralph Josiah Bardsley more about the lives of the very real characters he created.
Question: Main protagonist Jamus puts his limited gay romantic life in the closet to raise his toddler brother after their parents are killed. I might say he made a good decision, a responsible one, regarding raising his brother, but a wasteful one when he put being gay in the closet to do it. To what extent is he responding to his church-going South Boston Irish Catholicism?