Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark was born in West Germany and raised between England and the United States. He is the author of the short story collection Vladimir's Mustache. A former Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he teaches English at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. His recently released debut novel is Sweetness #9.

From Clark's Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Sweetness #9?

A: I learned about flavor additives from my reading of Fast Food Nation. Before this, I'd certainly consumed them -- in great numbers, even -- but I'd never really considered the role they played in my life. Now I could think of little else.

I became obsessed, because this industry, capable of recreating any taste, was both so interesting and philosophically suspect. Was the microwave dinner I was eating as healthy as the roast chicken my grandmother had made me, or was the quality of the food far inferior and only covered up by the wonders of science? I was down the rabbit hole, and there I remained for many, many years.

Q: Why did you decide to set the novel primarily in the 1970s through 1990s?

A: In the 1970s, many Americans still firmly believed in the supermarket. It was an age of Tang and TV dinners, when new ideas were viewed as progressive. It was important for my novel to start here, because my main character, a flavor chemist, is very much a man of the times.

At first he believes there is great value in his work. But by the 1990s, when...[read on]
Visit Stephan Eirik Clark's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9.

The Page 69 Test: Sweetness #9.

--Marshal Zeringue