Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Dave Eggers - Interviewed
The prolific author, and founder of McSweeney's, sits down with the Guardian.
From the story...
Did you consciously set out to write a novel about the global financial crisis?
I'd been taking notes for a few years for a novel about a man who'd been in manufacturing, but found himself adrift when his industry moved to Taiwan and China. I grew up north of Chicago, not far from where the Schwinn bicycle plant used to be, and was conscious of the fact that these beautiful, everlasting bikes were made just down the road. When the plant closed, psychically it was a big blow to Chicago, and ever since, there's been very little manufacturing done in or near the city. And that's very strange, given how central industry had been to the city's identity since the beginning.
So I'd been thinking about this guy, Alan Clay, who he was and where he was in his life, and then one day I heard about the King Abdullah Economic City, and about American businessmen waiting in the desert for an audience with the king. That seemed the perfect place for Alan, for a guy who knows he's in trouble but doesn't know how to find his way out. So he travels thousands of miles, to a desert, to wait for the approval of a despot. I liked that; it has a strong parallel to our own economy. The American economy had a lot of problems, and for the solutions we tend to look everywhere but the mirror.
Is it true you write without the distraction of the internet? Do you think the internet helps or hinders thought processes?
I've never had WiFi at home. I'm too easily distracted, and YouTube is too tempting. About eight years ago, I had a DSL line for about three months, and I remember waking up one day, thinking I'd spend a few minutes on YouTube before getting to work. Next time I looked up, it was 1pm, and I was watching a 20-year-old video by Kajagoogoo. That proved that I couldn't have WiFi at home.