Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stephen Dixon

Stephen Dixon's latest book is What Is All This?: Uncollected Stories.

From his interview at Bookslut:

I have never associated the word political with your various fictions, but in this book we are treated to several stories that address that thorny subject. "The Bussed" populates your familiar urban landscape with the terrors of a totalitarian regime, while "China" and "The Leader" offer up a military fable of sorts as well as a scabrous portrayal of Hitler. What was the impetus for these departures from your usual fiction making?

I wrote those during very political times, which I was strongly influenced by. You didn't mention "Mr. Greene," which was influenced by the assassinations of the two Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King and others. As for Hitler in "The Leader," I'd read an article about him in Psychology Today and thought that portrait of his sexual aberrations would make a good story if told from the prostitute's point of view. I wanted to write about a Hitler that hadn't been written about in fiction before.

I also wanted to write a story from the prostitute's point of view. How she reacts to Hitler's aberrational requests, and the whole operation in getting the right woman for Hitler. I also, odd as this must read, wanted to recapture a certain historical time.

In marked contrast to most contemporary fiction there has always been a very frank depiction of sexuality in your work; in this collection most notably in "Fired." Is this bluntness intrinsic, or just one of the mosaic of elements in your pared-back prose, or does it also refute the distinct lack of realism that permeates most fictional treatments of sex?

I write about sex the way it....[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue