An interview with Fran Kuster Contemporary Artist & Author of “The Book”

The special express train left at exactly eighteen hours and thirty-one minutes the small train station of TİKURİLA. The discovery of the world city Saint- Petersburg started right here and now on platform three. The train looked smashing, modern, and brand new. Train passengers were welcomed by a host or hostess standing at every train wagon entrance. We, having a reservation for the restaurant wagon part one, were welcomed by a young blond Russian hostess smiling a bright-white toothpaste smile and checking our tickets, passports and visa. A porter showed up taking care of our luggage that was to be stocked away in an orderly special provided place and handed us the storage number. We entered the train through a narrow walkway giving access to the small bar. The train interior was luxury and getting at ones the label of “Palace of the Tsar”. Our steps were muted by a centimetre tick carpet; we got a champagne coup to welcome us in the well decorated bar salon. Impressed by everything around me I did not realise we left the station until our train took more speed. We just started our first trip together. At exactly seven o’clock we were invited to come to our table. The restaurant compartment looked impressive. The walls were finished with a fine wood panelling, the wall lightning in fine crystal, the tables dressed in white damask linen tablecloths and silver cutlery. Sounds were muted making the guest talk to each other in an almost whisper tone. The meal started with an ivory spoon filled with Beluga caviar and followed by stuffed Blini’s filled with the same delicacy. To round up this exquisite meal a truffle ice cream cake was served.

 “The Book”, by Fran Kusters

Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment? What was that?

Years ago İ read a sentence saying: “ The way you look at an object can change the object to whatever you want it to be”. When İ wanted to write my novel that sentence popped up in my mind and thus created the opportunity to put it in reality. In a way İ used the book as an alter ego, observing situations, giving a comment, or analyzing a situation. For me, it became a challenge to look at an object ‘a book’ in a totally another way. The moment İ started creating this character ‘The Book’ stopped being an object.

What is the message you want to send out with your book?

Books are for many people “best friends”. İ think that this is the main characteristic of this character. At the end of Chapter one we can read: “Would someone read my story, would I be bought and put away in some imposing looking bookcase, would one day I will be thrown at someone’s head in a fierce fight or, and this would be the worst that ever could happen to a book, would I simply be ignored? “ this gives proof that books are part of our daily life.

Books can offer comfort, bring knowledge and wisdom, help us in practical ways, make us laugh or cry. Books are best friends who never let us down, are always at hand when needed, and never die.

What does travelling mean to you?

Travel is part of my life I need it as much as eating and drinking. When İ was a little child and people asked me what İ wanted to become grown-up İ always answered:” İ want to travel and see the world”. Travel opens up my world, my way of thinking, of looking at the world. It broadens my universe. Every journey lets me discover new cultures, new languages, new ways of living and gives me the opportunity of meeting people. İ adore discovering new places, tasting food that İ do not know, trying to get an insight into people’s way of living and after all, it gives me inspiration for my artworks and my writing. Be it on exotic travel, a cultural trip, or just a day away, travel always gives me energy and new ideas.

How did it feel to see your book published?

A dream come true. A journey where every step taken by the whole team brings a boost of excitement. Now that the book is alive I am curious and a bit anxious about the reaction “The Book” will get. İ wonder how people will react to this unusual approach and İ wish that somehow I could sneak in and observe the reader when they discover my book. İn a way it gives the same excitement as traveling, you prepare, you write but then there is still the unknown, the unexpected, the surprise, the excitement. İ am a happy woman, proud of my book, and grateful to the whole team who helped in bringing my writing into reality and let it enter the huge world of books.

Are you working on a new writing project?

I happened to finish my new novel: “Reflected İmage”. This is the story of a woman who revives her former life and discovers a lot about herself through the confrontation of her past. A see it as a spiritual journey. İ started reviewing the text and hope to get it ready in the coming months. Then there is the inspiration of yet another novel that came to me and for which  İ am preparing the layout of my characters and drawing the main storyline.

About Fran Kuster

Fran Kusters was born in 1954. She is a Belgian writer and visual artist. Twelve years ago she moved from Belgium to the South West of Turkey. Even though she is a French and Dutch native speaker, she took the challenge of writing her novel in English. Her artworks have been exhibited at the Muziris Biennale and various other exhibitions across the world. Her inspiration for her work comes from discoveries she makes while traveling, from nature, and in meeting with people. Some of her art exhibitions are 12 Portret’s and 1 Thuja in the Globe – art collection for UNICEF/BELGIË 2001, In Via V**Kunst in Koffers – European Art project in collaboration with Flanders the same year, Your Spot in the World, collection for the Belgian government/Amazone Brussel 2002, Ik-Ego” Solo exhibition Flanders government-Brussels 2003, “Fantasy in White” – Cable Factory Corridor Galeria –Helsinki/ Finland 2010,

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