Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Say Nice Things About Detroit"

Scott Lasser is the author of four novels: Battle Creek, All I Could Get, The Year That Follows, and Say Nice Things About Detroit. He recently completed a screenplay adaptation of Say Nice Things About Detroit for Steve Carell’s Carousel Productions. His non-fiction has appeared in magazines ranging from Dealmaker (for which he wrote a regular book column) to The New Yorker. Lasser has worked for a variety of now-bankrupt companies, including the National Steel Corporation, General Motors, and Lehman Brothers.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Say Nice Things About Detroit and reported the following:
Open any novel in the middle and you’ll need to be filled in on what has come before. So it is with my new novel, Say Nice Things About Detroit. On page 69, Shelly, the widow of Dirk, a central figure in the book, has invited Dirk’s mother and half-sister to Shelly’s house to give them a photo album. Simple enough, but then there’s the issue of race. Shelly is black. Dirk was, too, except that he had a white mother with whom he did not grow up. The album contains photos from Dirk’s youth, a kind of testimony to the years he was essentially motherless. Thus the photo album is about both shared and separate histories, which, when you think about, is similar to the histories of blacks and whites in Detroit. I don’t know that I was thinking of that when I wrote it—I was just trying to tell a compelling story—but it sounds good to me now.
Learn more about the author and his work at Scott Lasser's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Year That Follows.

--Marshal Zeringue