Brian Evenson's latest novel Last Days (Underland Press) is cerebral yet visceral, a great addition to that style of detective noir that exists in a space between--like Paul Auster's City of Glass, some of Kafka, and the best of Derek Raymond. For this kind of fiction, solving the case isn't the main point. In fact, the nature of the case may change so radically as to be unrecognizable by the end. Last Days follows Kline, a brutally dismembered detective forcibly recruited to solve a murder inside a cult of mutilation. Attempting to find his way through a maze of lies, threats, and misinformation, Kline discovers that his survival depends on an act of sheer will. Yet Evenson pushes the story well past where a lesser novelist might have stopped, bringing Kline and the reader into a place where ordinary moral choices no longer make any sense.
Evenson is the author of eight books of fiction, most recently The Open Curtain, which was a finalist for the Edgar Award and the International Horror Guild Award, and was named by Time Out New York as one of the best books of 2006. He is the recipient of both an O. Henry Award and an NEA award. Evenson's writing has been described as dark, violent, philosophical, critical, and lyrical. "Like Poe's, Evenson's stories range from horror to humor; a similarly high critical intelligence is always in control," writes Samuel R. Delany. "We read them with care, with our guard up, only to find they have already slipped inside and gotten to work, refining the feelings, the vision, the life."
OF Blog of the Fallen's Larry Nolen recently interviewed Evenson, and since Larry has done work for Omnivoracious before, I thought I'd share some of that interview here (with permission)--especially since it's one of the best Evenson has done...
Larry Nolen: From what I understand, you lived outside the United States for some considerable length of time. In what ways, if any, did that experience influence your views of the world and your fiction writing?
Brian Evenson: I lived briefly in Mexico and I also lived in France for a while, and I’ve translated from both French and (in collaboration) from Spanish. I think living outside of the United States changed the way that I thought for the better. It made me reconsider a lot of ideas and beliefs that I had taken for granted and I think it also really expanded my ability to empathize with others. Speaking French even changed the patterns of my thoughts, helped me to see things about the world that I hadn’t notice before. I think reading had already done some of that for me, but I think speaking a foreign language and living in a foreign country was incredibly important for me as a writer.