“ANOTHER NEW SHINY LITTLE THING FOR UNDER A DOLLAR”: RIVER BEND CHRONICLE AUTHOR INTERVIEWED BY TYLER GORE IN THE WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS

“I think there’s definitely a sense of intense mess that I really wanted to portray in the book. I mean, ‘mess’ in a social sense, ‘mess’ in a local sense — this thing of being from Iowa, and never seeing cows — and then at the core, and most importantly, a mess in a family that is struggling under economic pressures and emotional difficulties. And over the top of the mess is that prototypical consumerism, the junk piling up in the household, this crust of toys and other cheap boughten things that just somehow typify, weirdly enough, what is deeply inside you, the emotional confusion and chaos, the cheapening of dreams — and in the end the absolute, almost complete trashing of dreams — that can occur in certain households that are suffering under a weight of grief. In the book, this sense of grief is somewhat mysterious. It was never quite clear what affected my mother and father but there were lots of hints that they had undergone trauma, certainly proved by the way that they behaved. So whatever happened to them created a grief and the pressure of that grief — as in a garbage compactor — scooped up so much from discount stores and pushed it all together into the house, and we children were in the middle of that. And the hope for us all was to go out to Kmart again, or to go to Woolworth’s again, and to try to get another new shiny little thing for under a dollar that would then almost immediately break and make you need to go out again and get another little thing that would break. All of those fragments compiled in the house, and most importantly, inside of each of us. So, you just have this sense in the book of wading through a landfill of a spirit, or a landfill of a consciousness, that has undergone prolonged pressure from the forces of grief.”

Read more here: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/interview-with-ben-miller

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