The debtor's daughter

Lauren Oetinger, University of South Florida


The Debtor's Daughter is a novel that began as a short story. One area of scholarship that has plagued me with insatiable interest is that of the retold myth, fable, or fairytale. This novel finds its point of origin in this obsession. What has perhaps fascinated me the most is how a tale is created, and reconstructed based on the cultural, socioeconomic, geographic, and gender status of the teller. Which components are saved, discarded, or transformed, is the basis of my scholarly interest in the subject. Thus feeling at home in this particular nook of literature, it was only fitting and natural that it should be represented in The Debtor's Daughter. A reexamination of Beauty and the Beast, The Debtor's Daughter seeks to re-appropriate the genre of myth and fairytale into the world of literary adult fiction. Isabel "Izzy" Franklin's father, Lewis, dies suddenly leaving her with a weighty debt to be paid to a man named Matthew VanDarome. The terms of payment come down to Izzy's basic enslavement to VanDarome for a year; to save her family and her father's memory she must sacrifice herself. Structured into six parts and fragmented into five points of view, The Debtor's Daughter is an exploration in voice, point of view, and storytelling. This meditative novel is at times frightening, melancholy, and chilling; at others it is magical, witty, and engaging. Above all, The Debtor's Daughter's construction hopes to push the boundaries of contemporary fiction.