Percy’s muse is central Oregon, an area I’m quite familiar with, having spent a lot of time down there (between Bend and the high desert in Christmas Valley to the south). Like Dickey’s fictional Cahulawassee River Valley, Percy’s setting for The Wilding, Echo Canyon, is a rugged wilderness slated for destruction.
Zenyatta would have no place at Indian Mound Downs racetrack in West Virginia. IMD is a home for has-beens and never-weres, the drifters and the longshots, the schemers and the hangers-on in Lord of Misrule. Jaimy Gordon loves this riff-raff – men, women, and horses alike.
Bruce McPherson, publisher of McPherson and Co, was kind enough to send me an ARC for Lord of Misrule even though I’m sure he was being hounded by plenty of others after the unusual occurence of it having been named to the shortlist of the National Book Award a month before its release. It’s worthy of the hype. You can read my review this afternoon.
I read Paul Auster when I first came to New York City, I think it was around the time that The New York Trilogy came out, and I found it almost too good to be true. City of Glass really blew me away. I recall drunkenly telling strangers in a bar all about it, the moon being the key to life, George Washington throwing money across the river, and chopping down the tree of life, just to name a few little details from that great story.
I don’t think I could presume to answer that question given that American society is so extraordinarily complicated today and growing increasingly so by the day. It’s very difficult to follow a dream nowadays, but maybe that’s always been the case. Certainly the economics militate against it. It seems to me that there are more people than ever attempting to escape a straitjacket and yet because of the economy we’re more tied than ever to the great economic monsters for survival.
It was the 1950s, Trenton, New Jersey. Gray. Dismal. Depressing. Trenton isn’t New York or Philadelphia, but rather a poor relation, and like many other grungy northeastern municipalities that have seen their best days pass into history, it was a city long on its way south. Aside from The Bible and those gossip rags, there wasn’t anything else in sight to read. Instead, we had the Friday Night Fights and The Honeymooners on the old black and white Zenith. The word culture was never uttered.