Writing from inside the trauma of a breakup

Susan talks with Chloe Caldwell about her brutally honest novella ‘Women’

Writing from inside the trauma of a breakup

'Friendship in Goteborg, Sweden' Mathias Klang, July 2008

A self-described semi-autobiographical work Chloe Caldwell’s Women is the tale of “a dramatic lesbian love affair that’s doomed from the start”. Following two women, 19 years apart, this work takes us from the blossoming of their love through to its collapse and the brutal aftershocks. This is more than just a breakup story though.

Trying to start her life anew the narrator of Women has moved to a new city. Here she hopes to ditch her past drug-taking. One addiction is soon replaced by another as she falls hard for the older Finn. This is the narrator’s first relationship with a woman, but very much a doomed one as Finn is already in a relationship.

 Struggling to deal not only with the heartbreak that comes from a breakup the narrator is also faced with questions around her sexuality. Is Finn a once off fascination? What about all her past heterosexual relationships? Is she gay, straight, or bi? Questions like these are increasingly to the fore of young people’s mind and Chloe brilliantly explores this struggle of identity in Women.

Yet there is more to this work than sex and sexuality.

Through the narrator and a supporting cast largely made up of women Chloe looks at the relationships that define women today and how they help guide us through life. More than just a story about love and loss this is a tale of being a woman today and the struggle of living outside of labels.

Join Susan as she talks with Chloe about Women and her own experiences behind the book. How much of this tale is Chloe’s own? How much is taken from the world around her? And what are her own thoughts on love, loss, and living in a world of labels?

(The interview starts at 26min)

This week’s music to read to

Rachel Grimes’ ‘Earthly Heaven’ opens the show, with Frank Sinatra’s ‘Night and Day’ bringing part one to a close. The show finishes with ‘I Want You’ by Bob Dylan.