know nothing about. Were there times you felt the disorientation in any of the stories was too extreme for readers to find a way in? Was the degree to which you worked exposition into these letter-stories a consciously-calibrated decision? Or do thoughts of how much “help” a reader might need not figure into a project like this collection? Ben Greenman: No, I never worry that the disorientation is too extreme for a reader. Or rather, it’s different for different readers. Some people will be entirely put off by “Atlanta 2015.” Some people will be right at home with “Lunar City 1989.” But the stories are all written separately, even if the set is then pieced together and reordered.
from readers to help complete the title story. For this one, we knew we couldn’t really do that, given the kind of book it was, and the kind of publisher that Harper Perennial is. Instead we created Letters With Character (letterswithcharacter.blogspot.com), which invites people to write letters to their favorite fictional characters. It’s gotten lots of good publicity and lots of good letters.
Propeller: You’re completing projects at a torrid pace. Your novel Please Step Back came out in 2009, What He’s Poised to Do arrived in June, and your next book, Celebrity Chekhov, comes out in just a few weeks. You also have a day job as an editor at what sounds like it’s maybe a smallish alt weekly (?), The New Yorker. How have you managed to complete so many projPropeller: In another interview, you mentioned ects in such a short amount of time? Have you that the second phase of this collection—writ- no decency? ing stories to add to the ones that appeared in the Hotel St. George edition, in which the stories Ben Greenman: I have no decency. I also have came in a box—“worked like a correspondence little kids who wake me up early. I write in the between me and the original box.” How do you mornings. The iPhone, annoying in some ways, feel the second-phase stories are different? lets me take notes on the subway. I write in the backs of books and on the backs of receipts Ben Greenman: Well, there are more of them. from restaurants. Some of those things turn They are more expansive in the ground they into books. Ω cover. And they are less interactive. For the box, for Correspondences, we collected postcards
Published on Oct 29, 2010