The Austin Review was honored to get a few moments of Cari Lunaʼs time for an interview. The author of The Revolution of Every Day shared her wealth of knowledge on the New York homesteader movement over drinks in a quiet Portland coffee shop, as she moved skillfully between sending kids to school and stealing a few hours to work on her next great novel.
The Austin Review: The writing in Revolution of Every Day is described in a few reviews as “gritty,” yet it strikes me as amazingly clean. And to an effect--not just the stylistic juxtaposition with the content—but as a big arrow pointing to the fact that the characters whose minds we pass in and out of arenʼt dumb just because their living situation is unorthodox. They arenʼt uneducated. And they donʼt fit stereotypes of squatters. Can you talk about your influences for the book and your stylistic choices?
Cari Luna: The choice of the word “gritty” has jumped out at me too, because I donʼt necessarily see that. I think [reviewers] are trying to find a way to talk about the squatters and describe them, and itʼs more about the subject matter than the writing.
Inspiration wise, stylistically? I wrote it over a period of six years, and there were a lot of varying influences in that time. In terms of philosophy, the title, 'The Revolution of Every Day,' is a hat-tip to the situationist text, The Revolution of Everyday Life. The situationists were Anarchists in the French uprisings of ʼ68, and [the book] was written by Raoul Vaneigem.
The squatters in New York were a very diverse group with different reasons for squatting. Those who squatted for political reasons, many of them, were inspired by the situationists. At the actual historical eviction of May 1995--the eviction the novel is inspired by--one of the protest signs held up was “long live the revolution of everyday life.” When that came up in my research it gave me goose bumps. I was like, “Yeah, thatʼs it!” and that felt like a major key to understanding the political aspect of the story as well: What are these people doing and what are they looking for? And what the hell is “the revolution of everyday life?" So I read [the book], and it had a huge influence on how I saw the motivations of the characters, so I tried to bring that in, too.