So Many Good Things…
by Catherine Gammon
Updates on The Martyrs, The Lovers
Some wonderful reviews
from Necessary Fiction, review by Robert English:
“Written in hypnotic and densely layered prose, The Martyrs, The Lovers is an emotionally charged decon- struction of the layered character of Jutta Carroll. Just as Jutta is always using art, books, and historical figures to find comfort and reason, the novel attempts to strike the same resonant chords with readers. “Gandhi knew that the end was to be found in the means: there was no end, is no end, the means themselves are the end, the only end: the present, the ongoing present.” Like Gandhi, Gammon isn’t concerned with endings but with ideas, especially the ones that resonate now.”
from Ms. Magazine, review by Geri Lipschultz:
“Reading this book sent me to Petra Kelly’s story; I ransacked the Internet for information. But it is Gammon’s framing of the story that makes it even more haunting—the way she casts Jutta into the net of a very real history as well as the webs of the author’s own imagination. From this exhilarating exercise emerges a palimpsest, with Jutta’s story atop Petra Kelly’s, and a doubly powerful book. The Martyrs, the Lovers is deeply resonant for our day and age, as are the concerns of both the protagonist and the real politician and activist upon whom she is based.”
from West Trade Review, review by Tara Friedman:
“Gammon’s thorough and nonjudgmental thematic examination of false martyrdom and silence concealing masked generational and personal trauma will haunt readers long after the novel is complete. … [W[hile these jumps through time and space blend fact and fiction, they also act as testaments to Gammon’s literary and stylistic precision. However, it is the smaller moments, tucked deep within, where true beauty and vulnerability radiate – we connect with Jutta and each other through continued plights for causes, but we cannot tout justice for all without simultaneously taking care of our own biases, vulnerabilities, and mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
A reading coming up in Pittsburgh
Some background on the birth of the book
from a Necessary Fiction Research Note by Catherine Gammon:
“Remember—truth always sounds incredible: truth is the true fiction”—these words from Heinrich Böll are the epigraph to the Notes at the end of The Martyrs, The Lovers.
As the novel’s narrator says, The Martyrs, The Lovers is a work of fiction, invention orbiting fact. Although I drew Jutta and Lukas loosely from the lives and reported histories of Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian, nothing in their fictional world should be taken as revealing or reflecting, directly or indirectly, the living or the dead.
Catherine Gammon in 1990, when this project began