How to start an interview on the wrong foot

>> Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Note to self: self, if you're ever in the position of talking to Powell's Bookstore about your new book, do not start the interview by saying something so utterly stupid that it becomes impossible for anyone to take anything you say seriously (even if you manage to say something that isn't banal). For instance, here's what not to do in an interview:

Danielle Marshall: What inspired you to write about Los Angeles at this time in your life?

James Frey: Before living there, I had all these preconceived notions of what kind of place L. A. is. After I moved there, L. A. lived up those notions for a short period of time, but then I discovered a city that wasn't what I expected it to be. It was a really cool, interesting, incredibly diverse place that didn't have a whole lot to do with movies or TV, which is all anybody ever thinks about. So I wanted to write a book about it.

I also didn't think anybody had ever really taken it on. There are books where cities are central characters — Paris or Rome or New York or Chicago — but no one ever made L. A. the central focus of a book, in all its glory and its horror. So I did it, or I tried. I wanted to go after it because I think it's an interesting place. It becomes more relevant in America the more we move along in our history. L. A. is growing at an incredibly fast rate. It's the most diverse city in America; it's got the largest immigration population — both in-country and foreign — in the country. I thought it was an interesting place to write about.

Good grief! He's right! Why hasn't anyone ever thought of making L.A. the central focus of a novel set in L.A.? James Frey is a genius! Of asshattery! What a douche.

The full interview can be read here. That is, if you want to read some additional banal "insights" into writing, fame, and the City Of Angels in order to satisfy some kind of masochistic quota. I haven't read any of Frey's work, but this perpetuates the impression I've had from reviews and from his post-scandal interviews that he can't be any good.


Tania Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 2:40:00 PM EDT  

::high fives Eric::

Gods, yes. The man just makes me wince and grind my teeth while thinking WTF!?!?!

He's been on Amazon's Omnivoracious, and consistently displayed a similar vacuous pseudo-intellectual self-aggrandizing pretentiousness in his posts over there. I didn't read A Million Little Pieces, and I don't care that it was fiction instead of memoir (though if I have to hear one more time one of his defenders say "You can't know what his experience was like for him" I'll scream). I am tired of "literature" being navel contemplating stories of carefully cultivated and nurtured guilt.

If I want to read abotu guilt, I'll read Достоевский. That man could write about guilt, and did it well.

Sorry about that. I guess I better use a close tag, eh?


rbird Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 6:38:00 PM EDT  

i get the feeling he hasn't read very many books.

Carol Elaine Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 4:39:00 PM EDT  


Raymond Chandler ring any bells?


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