Monday, July 5, 2010


Nic Pizzolatto's fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Best American Mystery Stories and other publications. His work has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and his story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named by Poets & Writer’s Magazine as one of the top five fiction debuts of the year.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel Galveston, and reported the following:
So, turns out page 69 in my book is a half page in which the lead character walks his dog on the beach and weighs whether or not to run from the mysterious man who's looking for him, or to face him. Is it indicative of the rest of the book? Well, in that it's Roy's voice, like the rest of the book, and there's a sense of menace and pursuit, I suppose it's representative of the work as a whole. On the other hand, the most significant thing about this passage is that it comes during the first episode the reader encounters which takes place in 2008. Up until about page 60 or so, the book's action has occurred in 1987, and many details about the 2008 interlude should surprise readers and hopefully have them reading on to find out how things acquired this shape. In that way, structurally, I think it's indicative of what I try to do with the book as a whole, which is to do the unexpected thing, and do it in the hope of producing a different effect in the reader, one which is still powerful and rewarding. During the writing of this novel, I didn't want to be limited by what we might think of as 'genre conventions', and particularly the standard tropes of plot escalation found in most noir (love them though I do). Once their escape had been fully made and the characters were in place, I wanted the book to start doing unexpected things, to take strange lulls and accelerations, to pull its drama from characterization rather than the one-upmanship of plotting (even though, I admit, that kind of plotting is still taking place, even behind the scenes). The idea here was that, without sentimentality, I could produce an honest emotional effect in the audience which was unforeseen, if the pieces were arranged correctly. Thinking about it this way, I'd say that as far as it's indicative of the voice and ambitions of the book, page 69 does offer an accurate window into the work, as it's part of the first signal to the reader that this might not exactly be the book they thought it was. Though I'd still recommend trying page 1 first.
Learn more about the book and author at Nic Pizzolatto's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue