As much as I like to spend time in the extended Smurf village of my imagination, there’s something nice about getting to go to a day job where there are concrete expectations of you and concrete things to be done that generally are helpful to other people.
– Chris Adrian
Chris Adrian has been my favorite author for a few years, and reading interviews by him has helped me think about the idea of a career. He is unapologetic about his day job and seems to be an example of someone whose day job work is optimally aligned with his creative interests. Reading about his arc, I can believe that one could do great genre-bending creative work and still accomplish something much more concrete outside the realm of art in a way that both types of work informs the other.
He’s done some other good interviews too:
His newest work, The New World is experimental in form and deals with a familiar theme of grief, but with a sci-fi flavor. All of his books have a springy humor and a magical element despite dealing with dark material. I found myself using the word “leaven” in a short piece for class a couple of weeks ago, and I think he uses it in one of the interviews too. It’s a good word in the context of his work.
The book is also a collaborative work (and his collaborator has done some boundary pushing too, with a work that existed as an interactive, location-specific app), and it ends with a technique-whammy of sorts, and I expect that will be polarizing. Having stayed with every last word, I found it extremely moving, but it’s difficult to explain or hint without giving it all away. Try not to skip to the end to peek. I thought it came as a nice shock, so I’ve already spoiled it by letting on that there is something to expect, but it means nothing to glance at it. It only has the impact it does following on the heels of what came before, but I suppose you could say that for all of literature…
It will exist as a physical book soon, but for now, you can get it as an ebook published by Atavist for $5. (Though someone explain to me why the Macmillan version coming out this year is 70 pages longer?!) Highly recommended. My favorite book of last year.