Q&A With Miles Klee
In preparation for our event with Miles Klee this Thursday, September 17th, we asked him to answer a few of our questions. See his answers below, an make sure to come out an hear him talk about his book, True/False on September 17th at 7pm!
Miles Klee was born in Brooklyn. He studied at Williams College under writers Jim Shepard, Andrea Barrett and Paul Park, and now lives in Manhattan. His debut novel, Ivyland (OR Books 2012), drew glowing reviews and was likened to “J.G. Ballard zapped with a thousand volts of electricity” by the Wall Street Journal, later becoming a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books. Klee reports for web culture site the Daily Dot; his essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM,Salon, The Awl, The New York Observer, The Millions, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail, Flavorwire and elsewhere.
1) How did you come to write True/False?
I've only ever written short stories, in a sense. The first ones I wrote I found a way to suture together as a novel. This time I wanted each story to stand on its own. These were pieces I was submitting to and publishing in little magazines and websites from 2009 or so through last year, so it's a collection of maybe five years of sporadic work I could finish while toiling in a day job and freelance writing gigs that actually kept me alive with paychecks. Because so many of these stories took an autobiographical, essayistic, almost uninflected turn, it didn't feel right to present the book as pure fiction—which explains the title. I liked the idea of having unrepentant surrealism collide with the quotidian and mundane.
2) It's been a couple years, but I remember Ivyland as a collection of narratives set in the same speculative future. It felt almost anthropological, connecting different vantage points together into one story. How was constructing T/F different for you?
It freed me up to get in and out of an isolated narrative very quickly. Some of these flash pieces are the work of a single afternoon—though some of the longer stories didn't come together for many months. Some have the same impressionistic quality of Ivyland: related ideas strung together in a sequence that gives them an arc. I guess the nice thing was that there was none of the stress of binding together a bunch of disparate pieces into what could be called a novel. Now all these things can just swim around next to each other, and readers can draw whatever connections and parallels they want.
3) Similar to Ivyland, there is an uncanny darkness in many of these stories. Where does that come from?
4) What are you currently reading?
5) Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?
6) Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?
7) What’s next? Any upcoming projects in the works that you can tell us about?
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