Quintette of Questions: Kirsten Krauth

Today I’m asking Kirsten Krauth 5 questions about her latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

The title is Almost A Mirror. The book had another title for a while but as I began to do more research into the Crystal Ballroom, the venue in St Kilda in the late 70s and early 80s, the wonderful song ‘Shivers’, written by Rowland S Howard and sung by Nick Cave in Boys Next Door, was clearly an anthem for the period and these words seemed to encapsulate characters moving between the early 80s and contemporary worlds.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Well, in this book I was lucky enough to feature Nick Cave as a character, so I’d love Nick to go back in time to play himself as it would be hard to replace him.

As for Mona and Benny, the two main characters, I’d say Toni Colette and Heath Ledger (both as teenagers and in their 40s/50s) whose work I have always loved, Toni for her robustness and ability to take on any role, Heath for his sensitivity to the world.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Music. Memory. Motherhood. Mirrors. Masculinity.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Fleabag and the Priest. I have spent many hours, days, weeks, contemplating that relationship and even wrote about it for The Monthly because I had to get it out of my system. Like many others, I think Phoebe Waller Bridge wrote the perfect script for that series. I’ve studied her writing in great detail because she doesn’t have a single excess word. Not one. And the rhythm is stunning.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

This is pretty hard for me to do because Almost a Mirror is structured as a mixtape where every chapter is an 80s song! I have over 40 songs to choose from but I’ll go with ‘Spring Rain’ by the Go-Betweens because it’s about melancholy and joy, looking to the future, hoping to reinvent yourself. My main characters Mona and Benny move through their grief and use creativity to find this place. “I want surprises just like spring rain.”

If you want to hear the mixtape playlist, you can search for Almost a Mirror on Apple Music, Spotify or YouTube.

About Almost a Mirror

What we make of memories and what they make of us. Like fireflies to the light, Mona, Benny and Jimmy are drawn into the elegantly wasted orbit of the Crystal Ballroom and the post-punk scene of 80s Melbourne, a world that includes Nick Cave and Dodge, a photographer pushing his art to the edge.

With precision and richness, Kirsten Krauth hauntingly evokes the power of music to infuse our lives, while diving deep into loss, beauty, innocence and agency. Filled with unforgettable characters, the novel is above all about the shapes that love can take and the many ways we express tenderness throughout a lifetime.

As it moves between the Blue Mountains and Melbourne, Sydney and Castlemaine, Almost a Mirror reflects on the healing power of creativity and the everyday sacredness of family and friendship in the face of unexpected tragedy.

Buy Almost a Mirror

About Kirsten Krauth

Kirsten Krauth is an author and arts journalist who lives in Castlemaine. Her writing has been published in the Guardian, Saturday Paper, Monthly, Age/SMH and Overland. She’s inspired by photography, pop and punk, film and is an 80s tragic.  Her first novel is just_a_girl.

Almost a Mirror was shortlisted for the Penguin Literary Prize and won the Parker University Medal at the University of Canberra for Most Outstanding PhD thesis, the first ever for creative writing.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.