Julia Alvarez and the Role of Story

In a recent essay in Parabola (37;4 Winter 2012-13) titled “The Older Writer in the Underworld,” Julia Alvarez reflects on the importance of story not to the listener but to the story-teller, and how, at different points in her life, she has identified with different characters.  “As a younger writer, the story I repeated over and over to myself was that of Scheherazade in the sultan’s court,” she begins.  Now, at this point in her life, “The story I keep returning to for guidance is that of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades.”  I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Alvarez in 2009.  Her discussion of her Dominican roots, thoughtful and passionate, is relevant to her more recent reflections in Parabola, as well as the mythological bedrock of the immigrant story. She is a wonderful story-teller—at any point in her life.    Interview with Julia Alvarez.