Monday, June 20, 2011

Peter Mountford

From a Q & A with Peter Mountford at Tottenville Review about his new novel A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism:


What were the dangers in writing a novel set in country other than your own?


A lack of authenticity, for sure. Romanticizing and/or condescending to the country and its people. There is, I think, a danger of the book feeling detached—like if you’re not writing about a place you care about, one way or another, the sense of place might not come through or it might just be a colorful backdrop. That’s death, right there. So you have to have a deep connection to the place, for one reason or another.


For me, at least, there is an immediate and strong connection to place. It’s not a book exclusively about Bolivia, but at the same time you couldn’t set it in some unnamed mountainous developing country and still have the same book. Bolivia is essential.


I’ve been thinking about that recently, because I was reading Tea Obreht’s book, which is set in a fictitious Balkan country, and I wondered about the pros and cons of such a choice. It works for her book for the place to be invented, but you’re right that A Young Man’s Guide couldn’t be set in an anonymous country. Bolivia is a major character in the book.

Still, I once got a note from a reader about a story I’d written, which was set in Ecuador, and...[read on]
Visit Peter Mountford's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

My Book, The Movie: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.

--Marshal Zeringue