Publication Details

Broinowski, A. E. (2009). An interview with Dr. Hsu-Ming Teo. Antipodes: a North American journal of Australian literature, 23 (2), 190-195.


Alison Broinowski (AB): A connecting thread of fear has been detected in your fi ction. The June 2009 special issue of Antipodes featured several essays that discussed your work. Would you agree with that? Teo Hsu-Ming (THM): It’s hard to reduce any novel down to one thing, but fear is defi nitely a signifi cant part of Love and Vertigo, and especially in Behind the Moon. The section of the Antipodes article that quoted views about [fear in] Australian society, much of that is generated by the tabloids, by current affairs television. All of that comes through in the novel but ultimately it goes beyond Australian society. It’s about the human condition, the fear of being alone, the fear of loneliness, and not being able to connect. Now this I think is the great modernist fear. We have for instance E. M. Forster’s great epigraph in Howard’s End—“only connect”—and the whole history of modernist literature has been about the fear that we are no longer able to connect.

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