“In her latest novel, Beukes is facing the literal implications of multiple lives, each intersecting and colliding. Described in the author’s own words, Bridge is ‘a psychedelic, psychological thriller about a young woman, reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, and then reeling again at the discovery of this strange artifact—the ‘dreamworm’—that allows her to switch between realities.'”
NM: Bridge contains so many ideas and ingredients. What’s your perspective on how they coalesced into this story?
LB: Well, I found this strange object amongst my mother’s things…
No, I’m kidding. I’ve been fascinated with alternate realities for years, and especially the idea of all the versions of our lives that we haven’t been able to live, because we made bad decisions or maybe really good ones, or because we got overwhelmed and paralyzed and were unable to make one at all. What if there’s another version of you who is already living your best possible life? How would that make you feel, and what would you do if there was a way to experience that?
Plus, we do exist in parallel universes right now. An anti-vaxxer, or a climate-change-denier just lives in a completely different reality to the one I inhabit. That’s scary; all these realities layered on top of each other. We have to interact, but we have no place to connect or find an objective or compassionate truth.