From an excerpt of an interview with the Late John Hawkes:
How did you begin writing The Passion Artist?
JH: A year ago, Sophie and Richard and I were again in the south of France and I had nothing to write, just the echo of a thought a friend of mine had raised in passing. I had said to her that the interior of the human being was a cesspool, and she said, âWell how do you know it isn't a bed of stars?" And that pair of possibilities stuck with me.
Still, I was at a loss about what to write; then I met a man at a literary conference whom I so detested that I realized I could use him as the central figure in a novel. And I remembered a paragraph from The Cannibal, when the women from the village go to the institution to put down the rebellion.
I decided I would do that aver againâ"make an entire novel out of that one little passage. Then I recalled the source of the passage in The Cannibal, a story my father had told me: he had, himself, volunteered to join a group of guardsmen who went into a women's prison to put down a rebellion.
As soon as I thought of that, I knew I would try to write a story about a man whose mother is in prison for murdering his father, a man who, even though he is a widower, knows nothing about women and is hostile to them. By the end of the novel the women's rebellion has succeeded, the protagonist is a hostage, and learns from his mother and her best friend something about the nature of women.
This was a very hard, painful novel to write. Sophie says that it lays bare the horrors of the masculine mind. I told my editor that, and it has now become the last line of the jacket copy.
Different type of fiction...in places there are flashbacks and/or stream of consciousness writing - a little hard to follow. Also, the novel has lots of male-female interactions and sexual content. I'm not exactly sure what the author's "points" were.