'The Clockwork Condition' was intended to be a philosophical examination of themes raised in his most popular and problematic novel
The following interview was conducted in-house at two different times, in 2000 and 2004. The purpose of the interview was to provide a very readable documentation of Dalkey Archive Press’s mission and history. It was amended in 2004, and likely will be amended again in the future, to reflect changes in the culture that have an impact on the work we do.
After reading this interview, how could one not want to devote their life to supporting such an institution?
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
December 19, 2018 at 05:10PM
December 19, 2018 at 05:11PM
There is no sense that this particular novel has its place among-and should be evaluated against-a whole history of other novels. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:14PM
As with all of the arts, literature was once upon a time entirely made possible through patrons. This goes at least as far back as Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. They were able to write because their patrons provided them financial support. And this was of course true of all of the other arts. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, literature and commerce got mixed. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:18PM
While many people say that such and such a book changed their lives, you can be sure that they could not tell you who published the book. The identification is with the book and its author, not the publisher. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:25PM
My models were New Directions Press and Grove Press. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:32PM
Michael Orthofer at the Complete Review ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:35PM
Academics will probably bristle at this thought but, at least in relation to literature, all you have to do is look at the courses that are offered featuring the literatures of other countries. Not only don’t they teach these literatures, they don’t read them. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:38PM
I think only the philistine mind thinks that art needs a social or moral justification. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:46PM
A prerequisite for war, as well as bigotry, is that one sees a people or a country as a stereotype, as something sub-human or non-human; this is why politicians spend so much time trying to create stereotypical images for those countries they want to go to war with. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:48PM
Small publishers are oftentimes awful at getting their books out to people, even though of course the marketplace determines many of the limitations. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 05:51PM
I had originally meant to read all the Fletch canon in chronological order from the perspective of the stories’ timeline. Unfortunately the immediate availability of the books threw a small curve into the process, so I’ve read this slightly out of order. Doing so has thrown me as I’ve been under the assumption that Fletch was generally a journalist working for the same Los Angeles paper the entire time.
The Order I’ve read the series in so far
Fletch Won #1
Fletch and the Widow Bradley #3
Fletch, Too #2
Confess Fletch #6
Carioca Fletch #5
At the opening of this he’s going by the name of Peter Fletcher which was quirky, even knowing how much I.M. dislikes his given names, and he seemed to have a far more Italian flair and a rich man’s flâneur attitude toward life compared with his previous character. Gone was the ne’er-do-well under employed hero and in his place was a well-to-do more suave man. What was I missing/forgetting from the intervening books? It wasn’t until about halfway through the book that the Fletch character I’ve come to enjoy popped out of the woodwork as himself.
In stark contrast to the almost no plot line of Fletch, Too, which I found disappointing, this one starts off like a shot. The opening scene of the story starts out with Fletch in an apartment swap and calling the police to report a body of a dead woman in the flat which he’s staying for the next few weeks.
“This is the Police Business phone.”
“Isn’t murder police business?”
“You’re supposed to call Emergency with a murder.”
“I think the emergency is over.”
“I mean, I don’t even have a tape recorder on this phone.”
“So talk to your boss. Make a recommendation.”
The following morning he’s on the hunt for the missing art collection of an Italian nobleman who’s been kidnapped and presumed dead.
What follows is a nicely developed set of A and B plot lines that rival even those of the original Fletch. (N.B. I’ve still yet to reread the original, so it’s been over 25 years that I’m making this comparison.) The characters are great and the dialogue as witty and snarky as ever. This is Fletch as it was meant to be. Reading this after Fletch, Too brings my faith back for Mcdonald’s work.
I just hope the rest are just this good.
The added benefit is that apparently Mcdonald spun off the Frances Xavier Flynn character from this work into another series, and he’s a sufficiently complex and interesting enough character that I’m glad the Fletch odyssey isn’t really over once I’m done with these eleven.
From a time period perspective, I’ll again note, as I did for Fletch and the Widow Bradley, that this book (written in 1976) had some very progressive views about gay/homosexual lifestyle that I wouldn’t have expected.
Late yesterday on Amazon, some fans noticed that Amerikan Krazy was on the borderline of the top 100 in the rankings at #101 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Humor > Lawyers & Criminals! The ebook version was also at #331 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Satire and has been quickly climbing.
I have a feeling that a few more sales this week would not only put us solidly in the top 100 in the first category, but could earn the book a space among some of the greats in the genre along with Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen, Ray Bradbury, Bret Easton Ellis, Vladimir Nabokov, Don Delillo, Thomas Pynchon, and Umberto Eco!
If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, but want to help support our efforts to get the book out there, now is the time to take the plunge.
If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, keep in mind that you can read the ebook for free! If you’re not a member, you can read it now by trying the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.
Happy Birthday Henry!
The more I read of Henry James Korn‘s work, the more I love both it and him. Nothing pleases or honors me more than to be part of the process of not only re-releasing several of his prior works, but to be part of the team releasing his debut novel. Toward that end, I’m happy to announce (on what I hope to be his best birthday yet) the availability to pre-order his forthcoming novel Amerikan Krazy on Amazon.com! If anyone loves it half as much as I do, it’s guaranteed to be a best seller.
I’ve helped him to edit and shape it for several months now and somehow never tire of reading his characters, his plot, or re-experiencing his never-ending wit or his truckloads of snark. Somehow, between the two of us, I think I’m always getting the better end of the deal in working on his book. Either way I’m proud to call him my friend.
Happy Birthday Henry!
When I was setting up, I naturally brought a book to read, but I did it mostly thinking that only two people might actually stop by. (Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty nerdy and a very local pursuit. It’s easy to click “like” on a post; it’s a whole other thing to visit a small neighborhood library even one with free oatmeal cookies.) Fortunately and very pleasantly, there was a steady stream of people from start to finish, so much so that, as the host, I didn’t get to chat with the visitors as much as I would have liked. Apologies to those I couldn’t chat with more, and even moreso to those who heard answers to the same questions multiple times.
In the end, we had over 20 people and a few pets stop by our little event.
A Double Drive-by… booking?!
Under the heading of “Only in LA” I’ll mention that, the highlight of our grand opening was what I can only describe as a double “drive-by booking.” Fortunately no one was hurt.
About 20 minutes into the event a car drove up with two bibliophiles. They each had a book to donate, but apparently didn’t have the time to park and actually stop for a glass of tea or any cookies. So they simply dropped off their books anonymously and then drove immediately off into the sunset. A few minutes later, another car drove up and did the same thing: they donated a book, said hello, and then proceeded on their way without joining the party! Maybe they had an important book signing or a library event to rush off to? Maybe the library police were chasing them for late fines? The mafia probably would have called foul as they didn’t technically put a foot on the curb or call us out, but hopefully this is as dangerous as things get in the Little Free Library world. One of the donated books had its South Pasadena Library serial number filed off, possibly to keep it from being traced, but authorities are working diligently on the case.
As if the double drive-by wasn’t odd enough, we also had a minivan drove by with a brief stop to ask what was going on. The driver mentioned that the car of several people happened to include two librarians, so apparently we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for possible additional drive-by bookings.
Thanks for the Donations!
Special thanks go to Adam and Darren who dropped off 3 books. And to Delilah from down the street who was responsible for our first children’s book donation. And we can’t forget the massive donation of 8 books of literary fiction from Jeffrey Stewart making the largest, single one time donation. Several other neighbors dropped books off, and many browsed and found something interesting to take with them. I have to admit that I’m glad that I live in a neighborhood with such great taste in books.
The award for the longest distance donation goes to Samantha Marks who donated a signed copy of her new book A Fatal Family Secret which she shipped from Ellicott City, Maryland just in time for the Grand Opening. It counts as the newest book in our collection as it was just published in May. Since it was checked out almost as soon as it entered the collection, it also rates as our quickest check out; those in a rush may want to pick up a copy at Amazon or other fine booksellers.
In all we had a total of 26 donations for our Grand Opening, bringing our grand total to 49, so far.
As a special mention, the award for the furthest distance traveled to make our grand opening goes to Jocelyn, who came from London on her way to Oklahoma!
Again, a big “Thank You!” to everyone who helped to make our Grand Opening such a lovely success! We look forward to seeing everyone come back soon!
Website and Social Media
For those who weren’t able to stop by, we’re now open 24/7 365 days a year. You can visit our branch online at its own website or by means of your favorite social media platform:
- Web: http://lfl8424.boffosocko.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LFL8424
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LFL8424
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/101597495399600013512/posts
- GoodReads: Books currently on our bookshelf (updated regularly – hey, we live on a pretty big hill and walking up to see what’s on tap can be torture, especially in 80+ degree heat)
- BookCrossing: Little Free Library #8424 Crossing Zone