Amina Cain on the Value of Art That Disorients You
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
Amina Cain is this week’s guest. Her debut novel, Indelicacy, will be published by FSG later this month.
From the episode:
Amina Cain: I think that I am someone who is very interested in something like negative capability. That sense that you can hold either opposing things or things that don’t make sense without agitation. Though I don’t think that I set out necessarily without the intention to write that book, it makes sense to me that that is the type of book I would write.
Brad Listi: Why?
Amina Cain: For a couple of reasons. I’m someone who has often felt, like many, affected by books, movies, and artwork. I experience it and I walk out of the movie theater or I put the book away, and that experience of not knowing at first how to explain why I am so affected by it. The feeling is so strong.
Brad Listi: That’s how your book made me feel. It disorients you in a good way. I’m trying to figure out what happened to me.
Amina Cain: I have a lot of friends who are smart in different ways than I am, and often I’ve experienced something with them like a film, they’ll have all these smart things to say. I’m so affected but speechless. … I’ve come to recognize that that is an important experience. I’m interested in aesthetic experience and this idea that we’re deeply affected by things sometimes that we don’t have words for, and that’s an exciting and interesting space to be in.
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Amina Cain is the author of the short story collection Creature, out with Dorothy, a publishing project, and her writing has appeared in Granta, n+1, The Paris Review Daily, BOMB, Full Stop, Vice, the Believer Logger, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles and is a literature contributing editor at BOMB.