Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tom Barbash

Tom Barbash's new novel is The Dakota Winters.

From the transcript of his interview with NPR's Scott Simon:

SIMON: How do you make John Lennon a major, plausible character in a novel, assuming that you and John weren't buddies?

BARBASH: No, we weren't. I sort of felt like I needed to have something new to say about John. And I'd read a good deal about it last year. There was a book by John's personal assistant, Fred Seaman, that was helpful. There was a book by his tarot card reader. There were - you know, I read memoirs. I read his letters. But my sense, what I wanted to say is that John's last year, to me, seemed about being a father and thinking back on his own father and about going to sea.

So John learned how to sail that spring. He bought a sailboat, the Isis, and he sailed out of Cold Spring Harbor. And then he planned this trip through the Bermuda Triangle, from Rhode Island to Bermuda. And along the way, he had a harrowing storm. And the captain, a man named Captain Hank Halstead, turned the boat to John - over to John at one point because everybody else was seasick, and John wasn't because he was on a macrobiotic diet, and Captain Hank had been sailing for 30 hours. Turned the boat over to John and then, supposedly, singing filthy Liverpool shanties at the top of his lungs, John sailed the boat through the Bermuda Triangle in a storm and saved everybody's life.

And when he gets to Bermuda - he's had a five-year drought before that - and he writes all of "Double Fantasy" in about 10 days.

SIMON: Now, to be clear, this actually happened. It's also in your novel, but this happened, so far as we know.

BARBASH: This happened. So...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue