Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan's books include The Invisible Circus, which was released as a feature film by Fine Line in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories, Look at Me, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2001, The Keep, and A Visit From the Goon Squad, a national bestseller, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize.

From her interview by Killian Fox for the Observer:

[A Visit From the Goon Squad] ranges backwards and forwards in time, between San Francisco in the 70s and a futuristic New York, and has a big cast tangentially connected to one another. Did it require meticulous planning?

No: the opposite, I write totally spontaneously. I actually write fiction by hand – that always seems to startle people. I think the reason I do that is to bypass the thinking part of me and get to the more unconscious part, which is where all the good ideas seem to be. I've tried working on a word processor because I would love to be faster but it just doesn't seem to work. Goon Squad took about three years to write and that's the short end. My second novel, Look at Me, took six years.

Most of the characters in the book are linked to the music industry. How much time have you spent in that world?

Not as much as you might think. People who read this book tend to think I'm a music geek – but I never really write about my own life. I did once get a journalistic assignment to write about a pair of identical-twin female rappers called Dyme, but it came to nothing – although there's a bit of their DNA in the Stop/Go sisters in the book: they also lived in Mount Vernon, and had an orange shag carpet in the recording studio that their dad built them, so I got something out of it.

But the rest came from your imagination?

I did do a fair amount of...[read on]
Look at Me and A Visit from the Goon Squad appear among Julie Christie's seven favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue