About the Author
Craig Silvey grew up on an orchard in Dwellingup, Western Australia. He now lives in Fremantle, where at the age 19 he wrote his first novel, Rhubarb, published by Fremantle press in 2004. His second novel, Jasper Jones, was completed with the aid of an Australia Council New Work Grant. Outside of literature, Silvey is the singer/songwriter for the band The Nancy Sikes.
Silvey on Writing Jasper Jones
“I’ve always been attracted to Southern Gothic Fiction. There’s something very warm and generous about these regional American writers like Twain and Lee and Capote, and it seemed to be a literary ilk that would lend itself well to the Australian condition. So I finished up with this strange little amalgam: a coming-of-age, regional mystery novel, stuffed inside a nervous little love story, garnished with family drama and adolescent escapism and anguish. And then there’s Jeffrey Lu, who, I have to say, I wish were my best friend. I think Jeffrey might well be my proudest literary creation.
I wanted to explore a lot of things with this book, but one of my primary areas of consideration was the sloughing of innocence that is growing up, that moment where the bubble is burst and you’re suddenly exposed to the real truth of things and the blind trust of childhood dissolves. What I try to address in Jasper Jones is that some folks learn to live as adults, but never quite grow up. They live without that critical filter, still inside that bubble, protecting its thin skin by still subscribing to the same myths that they’ve always abided by. And it’s an insular way to live: fearful and insecure. And so there’s this kind of dichotomy, where you can choose to know, to learn and challenge and question, which can be a sad, lonely and isolating thing, but ultimately a brave act; or you can never challenge the status quo, which invites the fear of the unknown, and allows myth and tradition to flourish. It’s really that point that I wanted to test...