Interview with Darby Harn, author of A Country of Eternal Light
“One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read” – Sunyi Dean, author of The Book Eaters
A rogue black hole tears apart the solar system. Mairead’s life is already in pieces.
The Earth has less than a year to survive.
Asteroids rain hell; earthquakes rattle cities; manic tides swamp coasts. Mairead intends to give herself to the erratic waves that erode her remote Irish island, the same that claimed her child. When Gavin, an American, arrives to scatter his father’s ashes, she becomes torn between wanting for life and death.
Despite the tides, fuel shortages, and closing borders that threaten to trap him on the island, Gavin can’t seem to scatter the ashes. He doesn’t know how to let go any more than Mairead does and they find a strange comfort in their confusion.
Their affair draws Mairead back to the world of the living, but the longer Gavin stays, the more it seems there might be a future for them. There is no future.
Life closes down around them. The world they know shreds. Life drains into an inescapable abyss. And yet Mairead fights, both the gravity of her grief and the restless, dissonant desire to find some kind of peace no matter how brief.
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There is success in death.
Fish flop in confusion as the sea peels back to the mainland. Dinner tonight. Breakfast tomorrow, if I’m thinking of tomorrow. I leave them in the goopy, gasping muck. I keep walking. I am far now, farther than I can run when the tide returns. Bereft water jostles in pitted rock. Strands of seaweed coil around my feet. I feel your pull.
Here I am.
This buzz in the air. The tide coming back, surely. I look up, expectant. Meteors rip through the blue, faster than any wish can catch. Broken stalks of rainbows on the horizon. Comets like white lies. Three more today, competing with the big one they call Medusa, with all her snake tails.
I wait for my success.
The sea must have run off to the States with everyone else. That buzz again. Louder. Closer. The turboprop from the mainland comes out of nowhere. The plane hasn’t been over in weeks. Most days, high tide swamps the eastern horn of the island, the bit of Inishèan that can accommodate a runway. Right next to the cemetery.
Take offs and landings.
The sea is out. The plane is able to make a landing. He might have medicine, the pilot. Food. He’ll have room, for the trip back to Galway. Someone will get delivered today.
Interview with Darby Harn
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I think I just always wanted to write. I was certainly motivated by being a kid and watching Star Wars and reading X-Men and just wanting to make stories like that. I was four or five and making little cartoon strips and writing down truly awful short stories. So the impulse was there from before I can remember.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
First I would apologize for being able to skip out, when no one else in the book can do that. I might somehow try and transfer this power of leaving to Mairead but she wouldn’t take it.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
Mairead would tell me she remembers everything she tells Aoife she doesn’t.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Aoife. If there is anyone in the book who approaches the end of the world with a dash of hedonistic revelry, it’s her. Some of it is a front, maybe a lot of it, but Aoife does take real joy in life and she would be a lot of fun to hang out with.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
I kindly ask them to use their power to step back into their own book.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I don’t know if there is a genre I would never write. There are ones I don’t feel comfortable in. I’ve loved mysteries all my life and I wrote some terrible ones when I was younger. I love mystery in stories, but I don’t know that I would be any good at writing a proper mystery novel. Straight fantasy either. I love elements of it but I don’t think I could write something in the vein of traditional fantasy. I wish I were more adept at non-fiction. I love essayists, I love what was called for a minute creative non-fiction, but I’m never able to write about myself. There always has to be some kind of distance, so it comes out in fiction.
About Darby Harn
Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.
Find him online:
Darby Harn will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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