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Author Archive: "Jonathan Dee"


Thanks to my marvelous hosts at Gettysburg College. I read from The Privileges in front of a capacity crowd; when I say "capacity," of course, I choose to ignore the fact that the students were all academically required to be there , but hey, it's a lonely life as a touring novelist and you have to take your buzz where you can get it. Undergraduates are always an unnerving audience, I feel: they are super-attentive and super-respectful but they don't react at all. When you're reading the same scene in public for the tenth time, and the lines that made the other nine audiences laugh earn only chilling silence this time... well, you start looking forward to the post-reading visit to that local bar they were telling you about, let's put it that way.

So Much Unfairness of Things

As much as I enjoyed the road trip to Gettysburg on Tuesday night, the timing still caused me some sadness because it forced me to skip what has become a meaningful ritual: watching the final season of Lost with my daughter. She is 13 years old, and the eighth grade of which she is a part is, as she would say, "officially obsessed" with the show. She owns, and wears to death, a t-shirt bearing the legend "4 8 15 16 23 42," which... well, in the words of the great Louis Armstrong: Man, if you gotta ask, you'll never know.

Google Twin

Writers like to feel sorry for themselves, which is easy to do in private , but when called on to feel sorry for ourselves in social situations we will often do so by sharing terrible book tour stories. Here is mine. Before I begin, I will ask you to type my name into your favorite search engine — if you like, you can even type "jonathan dee author," which would seem sort of foolproof, right? Except that there is another "jonathan dee author." He lives in Wales and writes New Age-type books with titles like An Illustrated Guide to the Tarot and Simply Face Reading. We have never met, nor can I imagine the circumstances that might bring us together.

Let’s Go Ahead and Blame Oliver Stone

One of the defining features of blogging is the insta-rant — the opinion committed at the speed of typing not just to words but to global distribution, totally outflanking any temperate second thoughts. As someone who usually takes months if not years to declare any piece of writing finished, that idea is sounding pretty cathartic to me right now, and thus I will subject you to my feelings about Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, which I finally saw last night.

From a compositional point of view, it's stunningly well directed. I'll remember that overhead shot of Jeremy Renner pulling on the wire that produces six unexploded bombs from a pile of street rubble, or the later one of him standing helplessly in the cereal aisle, for a long time. Still, there was something gnawing at me all through the film, and by the time it was over I realized that there is something fundamentally off about not just The Hurt Locker but war movies in general, or at least pretty much every war movie since 1986's Platoon.

Wading In

"Guest blogger" wouldn't feel like such strange designation if I had ever done this before; but reader, you are currently hurtling toward the end of the first sentence I have ever blogged . I will try to enjoy myself and not give in to feelings of fraudulence. Don't get me wrong, I can and do waste time on the Internet with the best of them, but in some respects I am an embarrassingly analog guy. I am not on Facebook. I write whole books on yellow legal pads. I do not own a cell phone.

Who am I? I am the author of five novels, the most recent of which is titled The Privileges. It is about a family. Because the young patriarch of this family ends up a hedge-fund billionaire, the book has gotten some attention as a novel about the lifestyles of the obscenely rich, which it sort of is, but mostly not. Money does not make this guy who he is — who he is makes him money.

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