Daniel Hornsby on the Charisma of a First-Person Narrator
In Conversation with Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.
Today, Daniel Hornsby discusses his new novel Sucker, as well as the difficulty of editing a book’s opening, tech hubris, writing a character who inhabits the punk/DIY world and is full of shit, caves are great but spelunking is idiotic, Celine Dion is a time lord, and so much more!
Plus: Alex has returned for one ep only!
From the episode:
Daniel Hornsby: I really do like a very propulsive first-person narrator, and I know he’s fallen a little out of fashion, but Saul Bellow is truly a fountain of language, and his first-person narrators especially are so charismatic and extreme. Like Henderson the Rain King, where you have this strange, psycho American going to Africa—something about that voice I just found incredibly magnetic. And obviously Lolita also has that—someone who’s truly awful seducing you with jokes. In my mind, [Sucker’s main character, Chuck] wanted to be the next Tao Lin, but it didn’t pan out.
Daniel Hornsby is the author of the novels Sucker and Via Negativa, and his stories and essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, The Missouri Review, and Joyland. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.