Omni Podcast: George Pelecanos on "The Way Home"

0316156493.01._MZZZZZZZ_ I'd been wanting to meet George Pelecanos for a long time. I grew up outside of D.C., and since I left I've discovered what Pelecanos was doing in mapping the city and its recent history in more than a dozen crime novels mostly set far away (in class and culture if not in miles) from the marble edifices of the Mall and the polished wingtips of K Street. And the reasons to talk to him continued to pile up, including, of course, his work as one of the main producers and writers of the every-bit-as-good-as-everybody-says HBO series, The Wire, as well as this excellent list of his favorite westerns he did for our Grownup School feature a few years back. (And one more reason, which came up since I talked to him: Hard Rain Falling, Don Carpenter's 1966 novel, which the saints at New York Review Books are bringing back out in September with an intro by Pelecanos. I just read it last week and was wowed by two things--first, what a knockout book it is (expect an upcoming Daily Crush from me on it), and second, what a George Pelecanos book it is, with a similar feeling for straightforward language and a similar sense of moral decision-making in a gray world. And with its story of young men reckoning with the effects of prison, I can't imagine it wasn't in the back of Pelecanos's mind when he worked on his latest novel, The Way Home.)

Which brings me to today's subject: I did get to meet Pelecanos, in my little interview booth at this year's BEA. We talked about The Way Home, which meant talking about young men and prison and writing stories about the decisions they face, and also about the neighborhood in the District where it is mostly set, which is a little closer to my own home suburb than the parts of the city Pelecanos usually writes about. You can listen right here, or read the transcript after the jump. (You can also watch his short tribute to the other current master of D.C. fiction, Edward P. Jones, which I posted last week. And for another--no doubt better--interview with him, see Stop Smiling, which has posted an excerpt from their lengthy, very local back-and-forth with him from their excellent D.C. issue.)

Audio: George Pelecanos on The Way Home


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