Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel The Uncoupling explores what happens when the women in one New Jersey town start saying “no” to sex. Zoomer chatted with her about female desire, casting spells and the writing life.
Athena McKenzie: What was the thought process that lead to The Uncoupling?
Meg Wolitzer: For a long time before I wrote this book, I think I was marinating in it without knowing and finally I was tenderized. I was talking to a friend who’s a therapist and I asked her what she observed with patients and she said it’s all about patterns. I think that in terms of coming up with an idea for a book – it’s probably very similar. I did a piece in the NY Times that started with this comment I heard – “I would pay someone to have sex with my husband.” That harsh remark seemed angry about being in mid-life. I don’t know what was meant by it but I thought about it a lot and wondered, “How do people change? What’s the novel version of it?” The novel version is a story that looks at female desires across the spectrum. Then I’m in my territory. Even though I’m venturing into a little bit of magic realism, I’m safely in my territory because I guess I’ve staked out the world of men and women, domestic lives and marriage, parents and kids and that stuff. I’m safe there.
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