The form, maybe because it was the first problem that Shadow Man presented, seemed a little more rich with possibility to me, a little less determined. The biography seemed to answer the real questions that the detective novel raised. It also made this book possible: It just didn’t seem seemly for someone to know so much about someone else unless the first someone was writing a biography of the second someone. That’s a very old problem. The early English novelists were all formalists by necessity—why would anyone write so many pages about a “Robinson Crusoe” unless it was to provide his readers with “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures” of that personage, nevermind that he never existed? Or go on and on (or not) about some dude named “Tristram Shandy,” unless to record the “Life and Opinions Of”? I can identify with that worry. Why should the reader care? That’s a question that should sting.Part 2 will be up on Thursday, November 8.
Interview at Philadelphia Review of Books
Andrew Ervin interviewed Tim Horvath (Understories), Jensen Beach (For Out of the Heart Proceed), and I (I talk about Shadow Man) for the new Philadelphia Review of Books. It's a long interview—part 1 is up now, with two more to come. Here's a very small part of it, in which I attempt to explain how I came to write Shadow Man: