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Q&A | February 27, 2014 2 comments
Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
Jeff GordinierDescribe your latest project.
X Saves the World takes a look at Generation X that ornery, sarcastic, dark-horse demographic made up of Americans who were born in the '60s and '70s and the surprising ways (from Nirvana to Google, from Quentin Tarantino to The Colbert Report) that the Gen-X sensibility has made an impact on our world.
I'm really fond of a British writer named Geoff Dyer. His work is witty and erudite without being the least bit snooty or overbearing, but so far he hasn't achieved a great deal of commercial traction here in the United States in part, I think, because he's always switching topics. He won't stay put. He's perpetually wiggling out of pigeonholes. He probably drives his agent crazy, and I mean that as a compliment. Dyer has written one of the most illuminating books about jazz (But Beautiful) and one of the most poignant books about World War I (The Missing of the Somme), but my own solipsism leads me to suggest that you start where I started: with his savagely true and hilarious Out of Sheer Rage, an entire book about Geoff Dyer's slackerish inability to write a different book about D. H. Lawrence.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
I recall being told, when I first moved to Los Angeles and was living on an isolated beach, that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew. I could see why. The Pacific turned ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled not only by the peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf. The heat was surreal. The sky had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called "earthquake weather." My only neighbor would not come out of her house for days, and there were no lights at night, and her husband roamed the place with a machete. One day he would tell me that he had heard a trespasser, the next a rattlesnake.
How do you relax?
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, to what sign would you change and why?
Talk about your vision of the ideal life.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five Books That Will Make You Question the Wisdom of Ever Falling in Love Probably While You Throw Yourself Headlong into It Anyway:
Crush by Richard Siken
Love Poems by Anne Sexton
A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
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Jeff Gordinier is the editor at large of Details magazine. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in the Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.