Authors, when asked questions about subtext in their books, claim all sorts of things about their intentions. The truth is that subtext usually occurs for the writer at some point after the discomfort and rambling of the first draft; seldom is there much intentionality in place.
What exactly is ‘subtext’?
The devoured big fish or the policeman’s raised baton at the end of two famous Hemingway novels are examples of metaphor that the reader is supposed to gain pleasure from ‘reading.’ By reading I don’t mean just reading, but full being-present-to…like a clever ironic hint at a snooty party.
Because I’ve been teaching this stuff all my life and had grown rather sick of obvious and overblown use of symbolism and metaphor in fiction, I set out from the beginning of House of Large Sizes to use New Orleans, and more particularly Voodoo, as a metaphor for the decadence into which America seems to have fallen.
This isn’t the only subtext in the book by any means. I would love to have some fun with potential reviewers who would like to write about what they think the pattern of subtext in the book is accomplishing. I won’t enter in at any point to correct anyone, mostly because, frankly, your opinion is as good as mine.