April 13, 2009


Addendum to this afternoon’s tirade. If it’s not immediately apparent, I’m worried about how my new novel is going to be perceived, so the agent’s criticism cut me somewhere that was already bothering me. If North of Sunset was misread then I don’t how people are going to take The American Book. North of Sunset’s about a movie star who kills people with vanity plates – a ridiculous premise. Many people read the book and laugh. Others though have read it as “hard-boiled,” which was an early taste of how things get easily misinterpreted. And if NoS got misinterpreted, a book that’s nearly over the top satirical, I don’t what people are going to do with this one.

Tessa Dick – Philip K. Dick’s last wife, who I interviewed – offered this quote for the book: "If you read Lolita or A Clockwork Orange without drop-kicking the book out into the garden on a rainy day, this novel is for you." It’s strangely, subtly negative in its way but it at least sets up what I’m going for – the character is as much Humbert Humbert as a story about a guy who dreams reality. Like Lolita (proportions kept, of course) the book’s about the creative process and creative obsession. Yet there are still people out there who think Lolita’s about a guy who molests his stepdaughter. People are insane literalists. My book’s also about creative obsession, as well as the demise of a marriage – two things that are not blatantly apparent but a driving force behind the book, given where I was coming from when I wrote it– i.e. “the end of the world” is the guy’s personal life coming to an end, in which he concocts a fantasy to rescue himself from his damaged marriage and damaged world. And in the book, the writer ends up becoming a messianic figure, as if to counter his sense of powerlessness.

I probably shouldn’t be revealing this about the book, but what the fuck. If you read my book literally, you might be led to think it’s a book about how fantastic I think I am – you know, messiah-caliber. Which is absurd – but no less absurd than thinking North of Sunset’s not a satire. So the book’s going to be met with some criticism, I have to face that.

I also have to face the sort of narrow readership who might dig this type of book. I mean, even Robert Anton Wilson was published on obscure presses. The Daniel Pinchbeck crowd might like it, maybe, Douglas Rushkoff readers. Though it’s not too acid-soaked. There are plenty of Philip K. Dick-heads, and I’ve got a Tessa Dick quote on the book. So, yeah, maybe it’ll find a groove. It’s possible. OK, I feel better. Thank you.


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