I do not feel any different, even though the book is now out. The daily life beckons, and I have to answer it. I presume things are working away, out in the publishing world…
There’s a good interview with me here at the Civilian Reader blog, in which I talk about the story that, after about 5 or 6 years of sitting on a shelf, eventually became The Troupe:
I once had an idea for a story about a man who broke into abandoned homes, turned on a curious machine connected to a butterfly net, and used it to capture pieces of conversations the previous tenants had had out of thin air, and trap the pieces in glass jars. The conversations had still been echoing, you see, echoing on and on in these empty, abandoned places: you just needed a special machine to catch them. The man then pooled all these little fragments into one big pot, which made one huge story, a conversation about everything and everyone…
It’s funny – I thought up that story when my first attempt at a novel miserably, miserably failed. (As it should have.) Stories get compared to kids a lot, but they’re also like tumors – first they’re just a rogue lump, but then they grow and grow until they metastasize and take you over…
Stefan has also been kind enough to host a giveaway for The Troupe as well. Please see the bottom of the interview for more.
The Troupe is something of a departure from Bennett’s usual laconic style, and is pacier and more energetic for it. And although there is still a good amount of darkness to fear, there’s a warmth to the story that we haven’t seen in his previous work. That could be down to the teenaged George, or the sense of family within the troupe, but whatever it is, it shows that expectation is a fruitless exercise where Bennett is concerned.
This makes me happy to hear. I definitely don’t want to write the same book over and over again – though the very-different-books might be concerned with similar things.
And finally, though I’ve made a lot of acquaintances with interviewers and reviewers and other publishing aficionados in the past few weeks, some of my favorite reviews are from people who just happen to like my stuff, and want to tell people about it. Jess Schwartz has been following me on twitter since time out of mind, putting up with all the ridiculous shit I say over there, and she had this to say about The Troupe:
I finished reading Robert Jackson Bennett’s new book The Troupe on Sunday and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I read it in three or four days, which is pretty crazy for me because few things are able to hold my attention for any amount of time. This book was so good that on Sunday I sat in front of my computer for several hours and read the book the entire time. The blurb on the cover there is for his first book, Mr. Shivers, and I wouldn’t say that applies to The Troupe; I’m not sure how to describe the style other than “it is a Robert Jackson Bennett book.” And I’m not going to try to describe the book because I’m very bad at that, so here is the website for it: http://www.silenustroupe.com/
The book is beautiful, certain parts are actually terrifying, and other parts are devastating. I haven’t felt this way about a book in a long time. In his other books (and one short story that I adore) there is always a moment that really hits me or has some sort of…profound effect on me. I would say that in this case, the entire book is that moment.
A good start to the morning, most certainly.