Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"A Beautiful Crime"

Christopher Bollen is the author of The Destroyers, Orient, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year, and the critically acclaimed Lightning People. He is the editor at large of Interview magazine. His work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, New York magazine, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

Bollen applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, A Beautiful Crime, and reported the following:
All of my novels suffer from a case of split personality—a literary character study pulling delicately at one end of the rope and a suspense thriller tugging aggressively at the other (or is it the literary part that is pulling aggressively and suspense more delicately?—I’m never sure). I can remember clearly writing the section that appears on page 69 because I have my two amateur con artists, Clay and Nick, who also happen to be boyfriends, on the ground in Venice after a time apart, and I’ve just been describing the beauties of spring in the city. Right at page 69 I’m thinking, okay, you have to stop with the travelogue and get the plot rolling. So, here we have Clay reaching into his pocket which holds a photograph of the man they’re targeting. Nick’s going to need to be able to identity the man later so he can strike up an “accidental” conversation with him. This scene gives the reader the first tangible clue of the plan that’s already in motion. But Clay also wants Nick to love Venice, so he doesn’t pull the photo out. He lets his boyfriend be a tourist for a little bit longer as he walks him to his lodgings. So page 69 really touches the heart of the novel: if they were smooth, professional con men, they’d get down to the business of identifying their dupe right away. But they aren’t. They’re bad con men with good hearts.
Visit Christopher Bollen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue