I'm on a four-day reprieve from a very long book tour for my new novel, The Zero, and I've fielded a few questions about why I ventured away from my earlier literary crime novels to write a dark satire about America's reaction to 9/11. So I thought I'd start my blogging week there.
The first half of the answer is that I was at Ground Zero in New York five days after the terrorist attacks and since that time, I've wanted some way to register my outrage over the way fear has become politicized in this country, the way patriotism and capitalism have been conflated, and the way we lurched toward a misguided war in Iraq.
But that's only half the story. The other half has to do with Kurt Vonnegut.
When I was young, I idolized Vonnegut. I'd first found his books when I was in my junior high school library, checking to see where my own novels would someday be filed, which was right after Vonnegut, at least in my library. So I grabbed his book, Breakfast of Champions, and was hooked. I read everything he wrote. ...