Is it daunting, embarking on a new quartet?--Marshal Zeringue
It’s moving, more than anything else. Perfidia, the first novel of the Second L.A. quartet, which comes out September 9 from Alfred A. Knopf, is my Ragtime. And yes, it’s a novel of a horrible occurrence. America’s entrance into World War II, the Pearl Harbor bombing, the grave injustice of the Japanese interment, where innocent Japanese Americans and foreign-born Japanese were imprisoned for the length of the war because they might be fifth-column spies. It was a gross injustice that started—what I call the month of December ’41—the party at the edge of the abyss, and the precipice of America’s ascendance. It was a largely inclusive time; Americans, Los Angelinos were united in common cause. Sex took on an egalitarian tinge. There were brief and passionate love affairs deeply inspired by the war, and this overarching sense that we could be next. They don’t know what hit them in Pearl Harbor, we could be next. And I’m living that right now and it’s both daunting and entirely liberating for me as a writer.
What’s liberating about it?
It’s getting to live the time, assume the attitudes, of the diverse range of people and comport within their souls and their...[read on]