Friday, May 6, 2011

Peter Mountford

From Raphaela Weissman's Bookslut interview with Peter Mountford about his new novel A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism:

How did this book come about?

After college, I spent a couple years working for this shady right-wing think tank as one of their token liberals. I made eight bucks an hour, but thanks to some vigorous title inflation I was referred to as an “adjunct fellow” on my later bylines. My previous job had been flipping burgers. Thanks to the title, my work ended up in Christian Science Monitor and other lofty venues that would have ignored me if they’d known I was a 22-year-old fry cook. I knew a very pretty girl in Ecuador and wanted to get back in touch with her, so I took the job to Quito and wrote for the think tank about Ecuador’s ailing economy for a year-plus. After that I quit. Back in the US, I started writing fiction because it seemed like the only sensible thing to do.

I was not one of those savants you hear about, who barf out an immaculate novel on their first attempt. I wrote a ton of awful stuff for five years and then got an MFA at the University of Washington, and that’s when my fiction finally started improving, pretty palpably and abruptly. By the time I graduated, at age 30, in 2006, I’d started winning some awards and getting published, and things kind of moved along, at last.

I’ve long sought ways of exploring my experiences with finance and economics with my writing. Because not only was I a hack economist, but my father worked for the IMF for ages, and my sister is an economist for the OECD. This book was, basically, an attempt to synthesize my fascination with money and international economics with my love of...[read on]
Visit Peter Mountford's website.

--Marshal Zeringue