Fever is broken, at least at this hour. Thanks for the kind e-mails.
Nice when I can tie it all together. Very much enjoying Brock Clarke’s An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, which I mentioned some time ago with regard to Algonquin’s unusual publicity campaign. The September issue of Bookslut has an interview with Mr. Clarke. Tidbit:
In many places, An Arsonist’s Guide is explicitly
about writing. The judge at Sam’s trial gives a short speech about
stories and how they work and if they are good for anything or can do
anything. And Sam is writing An Arsonist’s Guide, which is a memoir but he also wrote the novel An Arsonist’s Guide,
which the reader is reading. And the title isn’t even his, it’s from
the memoir-writing bond analysts he meets in prison. Were you worried
about making the novel too explicitly postmodern or metatextual?
I was terrified of that. That was one of the problems I had writing
the book. I ended up just bloviating about literature in the beginning.
It was becoming awful. But I think about these things and I think the
answers are usually too simplistic.
I hope my treatment of the issue is ambivalent enough that it’s not
too academic. Sam, after all, isn’t a reader. I try to come at it
sideways. Believe me, I read novels that cover this ground and I tend
to loathe those books about what novels can do.