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Hellenic Immortal Blog Tour Interview with Gene Doucette

Have you heard of Adam? He’s immortal… but that isn’t the only interesting thing about him. He is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 years old, but looks 32. He charms the ladies and is often drunk, but what better ways to pass the time? Of course, you cannot discount his encounters with supernatural beings and his entanglements with ancient Greek mythology… Well, let’s hear a little from Adam and his creator, Gene Doucette, about the sequel to Immortal: Hellenic Immortal.

Adam: We’re talking today with Gene Doucette, the author of Immortal and the upcoming Hellenic Immortal, due out on May third. Tell me what these books are about, Gene.

Gene: Um.

Adam: What?

Gene: They’re about you, dude. Why are you doing that?

Adam: I’m supposed to be interviewing you. That’s what you told me.

Gene: Could you do it without the cardboard toilet paper tube?

Adam: I don’t have a microphone.

Gene: It’s a print interview.

Adam: Fine. Talk about Hellenic Immortal. Or what you had for breakfast or something. Whatever.

Gene: When I wrote Immortal I more or less avoided entirely a significant portion of history: the classical Greek period. Now obviously you spent time there, but so much more happened during that era it didn’t make sense to talk about it as Just Another Time like it would have had I stuck it into Immortal. It almost deserved its own book.

Adam: Plus there was that whole thing about it not being relevant to the events in Immortal.

Gene: Right. Although I hope we don’t have to wait for something from the distant past to resurface and threaten your life before we can talk about it again, because I was kind of interested in Byzantium and the silk road and all of that, but none of that’s likely to come back to life and try and kill you.

Adam: That’s what we thought about the Eleusinians.

Gene: True enough.

Adam: Do you think people who liked the first book will like the second?

Gene: Well yeah, of course.

Adam: I know it’s a stupid question, just go with it.

Gene: Okay, okay. I think the second book has a different kind of pace to it. It’s slightly more mature, because as a writer I was slightly more mature when I wrote it. We also spend more time discussing philosophy and religion, which is not inherently pulse-pounding.

Adam: So it’s boring.

Gene: Oh my god do you not want people to read it??

Adam: It’s not boring.

Gene: No it’s not boring. It’s intellectually more challenging. Especially the Silenus passages. Plus there are plenty of folks who are trying to kill you, which is diverting.

Adam: Diverting, you say.

Gene: More interesting than you talking about drinking for two hundred pages.

Adam: Hey, I thought that was a pretty good first draft.

Gene: I think we’re done, yes?

Adam: Close enough.

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Faithful Place by Tana French

 

It’s been a busy summer. I loaded up my Kindle for a week’s vacation and then was afraid to get sand in it, so I had to go buy magazines and a book. I ended up with Tana French’s Faithful Place. It was a mystery/thriller set in Dublin and was, quite honestly, very engaging. I loved the writing and the characters.

In the mid 80s, a couple of teens fell in love and planned to run away together. The girl disappeared, apparently leaving her lover behind. Twenty-two years later, he is a detective and her abandoned suitcase has turned up. That’s all I’m telling you. Read it. You’ll like it.

 

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Next Book to Read: House of Leaves…. Because I Have To

I’m a little tired of reading what other people want/need me to read, but If I don’t read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski soon, my son is going to kill me in my sleep. He’s been dying for me to read it for about a year and I keep coming up with excuses.  This is from Publisher’s Weekly:

Danielewski’s eccentric and sometimes brilliant debut novel is really two novels, hooked together by the Nabokovian trick of running one narrative in footnotes to the other. One-the horror story-is a tour-de-force. Zampano, a blind Angelino recluse, dies, leaving behind the notes to a manuscript that’s an account of a film called The Navidson Report. In the Report, Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Will Navidson and his girlfriend move with their two children to a house in an unnamed Virginia town in an attempt to save their relationship. One day, Will discovers that the interior of the house measures more than its exterior. More ominously, a closet appears, then a hallway. Out of this intellectual paradox, Danielewski constructs a viscerally frightening experience. Will contacts a number of people, including explorer Holloway Roberts, who mounts an expedition with his two-man crew. They discover a vast stairway and countless halls. The whole structure occasionally groans, and the space reconfigures, driving Holloway into a murderous frenzy. The story of the house is stitched together from disparate accounts, until the experience becomes somewhat like stumbling into Borges’s Library of Babel. This potentially cumbersome device actually enhances the horror of the tale, rather than distracting from it. Less successful, however, is the second story unfolding in footnotes, that of the manuscript’s editor, (and the novel’s narrator), Johnny Truant. Johnny, who discovered Zampano’s body and took his papers, works in a tattoo parlor. He tracks down and beds most of the women who assisted Zampano in preparing his manuscript. But soon Johnny is crippled by panic attacks, bringing him close to psychosis. In the Truant sections, Danielewski attempts an Infinite Jest-like feat of ventriloquism, but where Wallace is a master of voices, Danielewski is not. His strength is parodying a certain academic tone and harnessing that to pop culture tropes. Nevertheless, the novel is a surreal palimpsest of terror and erudition, surely destined for cult status. 

Sounds heavy… confusing maybe, but good, and heavy. And the book IS heavy. And not available on Kindle. So, if you don’t hear from me, it means I’ve abandoned it and my son has, indeed killed me… or I’m still trying to figure it out.

 

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Book Club…

Well, I went and discussed Ender’s Game last night. It was pretty good. I didn’t like it as much as Hunger Games, but it had the same dystopian feel to it. Not everyone will love it, but if you liked Hunger Games, enjoy young protagonists pitted against nasty grownups, you’ll probably like it.

We discussed next books and here is where I may get into trouble. Those of you who know me… know I’m on the verge. I read everything and anything. The Help wasn’t in, which I took as a good sign, but no book was chosen. My suggestions: Room, Mr. Peanut, Great House, and more unconventional selections were countered with your usual book discussion club picks. You know the ones. They usually have Oprah’s seal of approval. Hero, heroine, adversity, death, triumph, whatever. I won’t last long with those kinds of books.

I’ll be looking to shake things up, so we’ll see what happens. Just wait until I push them into The Eyre Affair or Slaughterhouse Five… Or maybe just Island of the Sequined Love Nun. I actually mentioned that one last night. Pretty sure one woman almost had a stroke.

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