A Pair of Dan Chaon Links

by Patrick on August 25, 2009

What better way to celebrate Tuesday, that most underrated of days (It’s not Monday, after all!), than with a pair of Dan Chaon related stories.   As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of Chaon’s work.  His new novel, Await Your Reply, hits shelves today.  You can read my review of it later today if you subscribe to The Essential.  In the meantime, check out this excellent interview with him at The Millions.  In it, he discusses his various and eclectic influences and his creative writing classes at Oberlin College:

“I remember one time we had a discussion in class about a sensational news story.  An insane woman had kidnapped a pregnant mother, and had killed the mother and performed a c-section and claimed the baby as her own.  A truly horrifying tale.  And we had been talking about it in class, and I asked:  which character would you choose if you were writing a story?   The pregnant mother or the insane woman who took the baby?   At that point, a young woman spoke up, a sophomore. “My God!”  she said.  “The ghost of that dead woman is probably spitting on us as we sit here talking about this!”  I think that was you, Edan, who was so appalled.  I remember that it gave me pause:  At what point does imagining, does the attempt to inhabit, become wrong?  At what point does it become morally repugnant?   I still think: never.  But I understand that it’s fraught,  that it’s compromised, that it’s suspect. That it’s an invasion that borders on—or crosses over into—the criminal. During the writing of this book,  I followed the exploits of a number of trolls who used invented personas to invade and then (often hilariously) disrupt various solemn internet message boards.   I read about a depressed teen who was goaded into suicide by a cruel classmate’s mother who was pretending to be the poor girl’s “boyfriend” on MySpace.  I myself set up a dummy email address and briefly tried out various fake personas to see what would happen.”
And then check out this trailer for the book:

I think this trailer does just what a good book trailer ought to do:  it entices without revealing too much.  Plus it looks amazing.  (In the interest of disclosure, I helped put Chaon in touch with the filmmaker, Jamieson Fry.  In other words, I’m biased, so go watch it, and judge for yourself.)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma 08.26.09 at 10:30 am

Also, isn’t Dan’s new website just fabulous? http://www.danchaon.com.

Patrick 08.26.09 at 11:49 am

How did I forget Dan’s new website!? Yes, it is fabulous.

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