I have attached a diagram to illustrate the many layers of The Hakawati. The novel’s structure is kind of like a braid. There are three main lines of story that intertwine: The present, the past, and the fairy tale. These main lines then have offshoots, little mini stories, that add even more complexity to the structure.
You end up getting this beautiful mishmash of reality and fantasy and the two rub up against each other and inform each other. Mostly, the overlap is in tone, or adding a little bit of context to another part. The different story lines don’t really talk out loud to each other much. Rather, they seem to whisper.
Just like melody and harmonies in music, the layers of the storylines all blend together to make a much bigger sound than one instrument playing alone. It’s a very cool effect. And now, without further ado, I give you the rough diagram (this is just for illustration, it’s by no means exact nor comprehensive.)
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.