May 14, 2012

AWRF 2012: An hour with Anthony McCarten

Sue from Readers Services at Central Library LOVED this event (capitals hers), which featured Anthony McCarten in conversation with Lily Richards. The short verdict was "funny guy, lovely man", and here's the long one:
How can New Zealand not have fallen in love with this writer, turning a blind eye to his internationally acclaimed Death of a superhero? Shame on us all! Perhaps our moon and stars were not in alignment at the time of its publication in Aotearoa. Whatever the reason, read this book now; it is achingly beautiful, poignant, funny, sensitive, the total package.

And now, McCarten has written a follow up novel, In the Absence of Heros, which picks up the characters of the earlier novel and looks at how the family is fracturing under the weight of their grief. The book also focuses on the phenomena of the online gaming world, where the surviving son seeks refuge from the unredeemed banality of everyday life and a family muted by grief. Not only is this book a commentary on grief and communication, it also speaks of our growing love affair with virtual worlds and all things online.

McCarten spoke too of his recently released novel Brilliance, which was a behemoth in its first incarnation some ten years ago, but has now been streamlined into its present day form. It is a fictionalised account of Thomas Edison reflecting back on his defining moment and his relationship with New York business man and tycoon J P Morgan. The book largely works to humanise a figure who was almost canonised in his time for his achievements, showing his human frailties and errors of judgement.

McCarten was extremely entertaining, self-deprecating, wickedly funny live and in written form, and appreciative of an audience which he noted was larger than the number of books he sold in NZ when he first published Death of a Superhero. Get to know McCarten’s writing now, you will not be disappointed.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 03:00


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