Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Life at First Try in CompLit

Recently, My life at First Try was introduced to a Comparative Literature class in one of the California universities. The following are the questions I got from the students and my answers to them.

1. Did you intend MY LIFE AT FIRST TRY for a younger audience? Is this connected
to your decision to make the book available on Kindle? What about the short chapters?

2. What was the flash-fiction chapter decision all about?

3. Is Alex ever happy?

4. What is up with Alex’s obsession with Annie?

5. How did you pick the chapter titles, and did you have anything to do with the fact that the titles are separated by quite a lot of space on the page?

6. Do you consider yourself a postmodernist?

A comment from a student in the back row in the undergraduate class:

Alex is the most baddass Russian engineer I’ve ever read about!

1. No, I intended MLAFT for the kids of all ages. As a matter of fact, I had one chapter (later removed) where Alex turned 80, finally become an adult and met space aliens. As for Kindle, that’s my publisher’s decision. The short paragraphs are intended for modern people with short attention spans who want more for less
(be that money or time).
2. See above. Also, I love flash. I love it so much that I publish a magazine of flash fiction, Vestal Review,
3. Yes, Alex is always happy. Unless he is not. Happiness is fragile and fleeting and sometimes you can’t tell if a person is happy or sad by observing him. More importantly, is Alex becoming a better, wiser person? What do you think?
4. Alex is an explorer. He wants something new, and the less attainable, the better.
5. The titles are to add to the action describes in each chapter. As for spaces, that’s the publisher’s decision.
6. I have never tried to classify myself. Classification means you have an assigned place on a bookshelf. I don’t want to remain in one place. Like Alex, I want to be the most badass Russian-American writer you’ve ever heard of.