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October 07, 2004

The All-New England Interview Roundup

by Ron Hogan

Salon kicks off an irregular series of "authors who, while admired by their peers, haven't quite found the audience they deserve" as David Bowman chats with Vermont-based Craig Nova, who makes a blatant bid to attract Maud's interest:

No one understood anxiety of the modern age like Greene did. And his books are still all in print. Everybody reads them. Brighton Rock was in my mind a lot when I was writing this book. Actually my wildest and most enthusiastic high about this book is I would like to think of it as a collaboration between me and Graham Greene and Albert Camus.

Robert Birnbaum gets Jennifer Finney Boylan, who writes about her transformation from James to Jennifer in She's Not There, to drive down from Maine for one of his extended conversations and learns why she believes her audience extends beyond the assumed appeal to transgendered readers:

If you are a transgendered person you already know all this stuff and in fact there are a lot of other books that have a much more complex or heart-rending narrative to them. People who have come to my book, I think, are concerned with the larger question. Which is, “How do you live an authentic life? What sorts of sacrifices will it take from you and from the people around you in order to become yourself? And how do you find that courage? How do you find the strength to do something that truly seems impossible?” And I think those are questions that everybody asks. Because whatever your dragon is—if you will pardon me using Joseph Campbell imagery—everybody has some sort of dragon they have to slay. People find the story of somebody who changed their identity in what seems like a dramatic way—people find that moving and it relates to their journey, whatever it is.

I am going to consider this a kind of cosmic sign—as I have been thinking about driving up to Nova's Vermont aerie to continue a conversation I had with him when he published Universal Donor. Nova has been championed by John Irving, among others,for years,For good reason I think.

Whatever the reasons—and even the results, Salon is doing a good thing—the kind of thing TMFTML did when it's prime.

Posted by: birnbaum at October 7, 2004 05:21 AM
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