May 13, 2005
Found out today that Tristan Egolf killed himself. Read about it: here. I read his novel Lord of the Barnyard. I have to admit I didn’t completely like it. I probably shouldn’t offer criticism when commemorating someone, but it wouldn’t be the first time that an opinion was ill placed. Whatever, it’s true. It’s in the Pynchon vain, which is not my thing. It's more Pynchon than Charles Bukowski. I didn’t love the book, but I respected the ambition, the place it came from. I was drawn to the book somehow. New underground writer on the rise. He was discovered in Paris and then published by Grove Press, lord of all publishers, so there might have been jealousy in my reading of the book.
I remember him talking about the novel on the Leonard Lopate show when I lived in New York. He mentioned how when he wrote the book, he was dead while he wrote it. His suicide puts this into a different perspective, but at the time I thought, Yeah. I had just finished writing a novel and I was kind of dead to the world while I was writing it. His sentiment stuck with me--that interview was probably seven or eight years ago. It felt good to hear it from someone else’s mouth, especially a writer who was my age and successful.
I think I’ll pick up Lord of the Barnyard again this weekend.
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