Ask a Vintage Expert: Vintage Publicist Turned Writer Gives his Two Cents

The Sun & Anchor asks writers and editors about what goes on behind the scenes. Next up — Award winning writer (and Veteran Vintage Publicist) Ethan Rutherford on Bad Advice

Bad Advice

Write what you know, write what you know.  I’m not sure who first came up with that little nugget of wisdom, but it’s everywhere.  It’s in the air.  It gets passed around like a cold in writing workshops and “how to” books.  And, if taken the wrong way, it’s just a terrible, destructive piece of advice, almost as misleading as “show don’t tell”.

Why?  Because if taken the wrong way—which is what you do as a young writer, you take everything the wrong way (I still take things the wrong way, I can’t help it)—it’s the sort of set-in-solid-stone advice that will shut down your imagination before it even wakes up.  This is fiction we’re talking about, the realm of boundless dramatic opportunity.  Your characters can do anything you want them to do, anywhere you want them to do it.  Your imagination is a muscle; so flex that mofo.  Don’t give your emotional experience to a character just like you—you know, we know, where that leads: to someone, sitting at a desk, writing about what it was like to become a writer.  That’s fine for non-fiction.  But for fiction?  A reader—or, I should say, this reader—wants to be flung far and transported; I want to immerse myself in the fully imagined lives of characters I’ve never—would never—encounter, in situations I would never find myself in.  I want to be surprised at the recognition something shared between myself and these characters, linking us.  And further away you are from that character’s experience, the more surprising that recognition is when it comes, and the harder it hits.

So if the goal of a story is to make the strange familiar, why not begin with the strange?  Why not write what you don’t know, but are interested in exploring?  John Gardener has written that a successful ending ought to be both surprising and inevitable.  The problem with writing what you know is that, from the outset, you know how you are going to demystify the experience, and while you often stick an ending that’s inevitable, rarely is it surprising (to you, to the reader, to everyone).  Set the stakes a little higher.  Wade into a pool that you think might be just a little too deep.  Let that story gallop ahead of you, so when you do, finally, lasso it, and bring it home to the Recognizable Corral, you’re not sure exactly how you’ve done it, and are just as amazed as everyone else.

ABOUT: Ethan Rutherford’s fiction has appeared in Esopus, New York Tyrant, VERB, Faultline, American Short Fiction, Fiction on a Stick, and the Best American Short Stories 2009.  His stories have received Special Mention in the 2009 and 2010 Pushcart Prize anthologies, and he is the recent recipient of a SASE/Jerome Foundation Grant for Emerging Writers, as well as a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. In 2009, he received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota.  He’s just finished a collection of short stories, and is at work on a novel. Click here to read some of his work.

Candid and Uncensored with David Eagleman and Rebecca Goldstein

In their respective novels SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, David Eagleman and Rebecca Goldstein both explore the relationship among science, literature and religion. In a candid and uncensored email conversation, the authors compare their writing processes and talk about their search to marry the limitations of science with literary imagination.

Dear Rebecca,

First, let me say that I loved 36 Arguments for the Existence of God.  It’s wide ranging and very smart in its approach to life’s questions.  While reading your book, it struck me that you and I are both writing from a similar space at the intersection of science and literature.  We both live in the corridors of academia–and even more specifically, in the world of the science of the mind–and our fiction seems to soak up that background in the form of vocabulary and concepts.

There’s probably a lot to explore about that nexus of worlds, but to get the conversation started I thought I’d pick out one particular point: I think that space provides a good launching pad for exploring big ideas while giving no truck to dogmatism.  And that seems to be the formula for both good science and good literature.

As we know, many first-class writers spend their energies assembling arguments in the God/No God debate, but perhaps there is more interesting material to talk about.  To this end, I immediately liked the deception of your book’s title: I felt that the real story was neither about arguments for nor against the existence of God, but instead about interesting ideas in the middle ground. The narrative seeks no easy solutions, but is instead willing to live with complexity.  This is epitomized in one of your characters, Azarya, who understands both the speciousness of religious edicts as well as their deep importance to community.

In the end, your book struck me as both post-religious and post-atheist.  Am I correct about that characterization, or would you disagree?  This is actually a description that a reader suggested to me about Sum during a book reading.  I loved the phrase and stole it!  After all, life is more interestingly complicated than either side of the God argument might suggest, and it often feels to me that a science-based and non-dogmatic position might be the right place to start the exploration.  After all, the scientific temperament is persuaded by evidence, but when no evidence exists, it is comfortable with uncertainty.  I think that’s an interesting place from which to write literature nowadays.  What are your thoughts?

-David

Dear David,

It is wonderful to be in dialogue with you. Although we’ve never met, I know that there is much mutual understanding and sympathy.  We’re both as deeply touched by science as by literature, and, for some reason that I’ll never understand, that makes us members of a smallish set. I have some specific questions I’d love to ask you, but before I get to them let me address your questions to me.

You’re right that I tried, from the very beginning of the book–that is, in its title–to squeeze in the ambiguity and complexity and paradox that I think lurks around these God debates.  The full title is even longer than the one you quote.  It’s “36 Arguments for the Existence of God: a Work of Fiction,” and I meant that sub-title to be an ironic comment on the proofs themselves (or, as one ardent atheist reader pointed out, on God Himself, a work of fiction).  I wanted ambiguity and complexity and paradox because that’s the sphere that humans inhabit at their deepest core, and no questions draw deeper from that core than those raised by the God debates. In the Appendix, where I simply analyze the arguments as a trained philosopher, I can be straightforwardly rigorous, knocking down one argument for God’s existence after another.  But in the body of the novel, where the human reactions toward the whole complicated business of religion is what animates the plot and characters, things gets far more complicated. Is it possible to be an atheist who feels sympathy toward at least some of the religious impulses–which, by the way, I think can be given purely secular expression?   Would that make me post-atheist and post-religious?  I’m not sure, but in any case, that describes me.

So here’s my question to you regarding your extraordinary Sum: Do you have a philosophical position regarding the possibility of the afterlife, and did it in any way play into the conception of your novel?  Do your professional views in neuroscience allow you to entertain the possibility of an afterlife?

My best,

Rebecca

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Judge these books by their covers: Nabokov Giveaway!

Perhaps the most creative and ambitious backlist promotion in the history of Vintage International, John Gall’s individually commissioned Nabokov backlist covers have become collector’s items in themselves. As an homage to the author’s love for collecting butterflies, each cover was created using pins, paper, and butterfly boxes.

Below, see them in all their glory. Click through for larger images. And just for fun, tell us which is your favorite! Then leave a comment with your reasons why– the most original argument will win a copy of the book they’ve chosen.

*Bend Sinister, The Enchanter, The Gift, Look at the Harlequins and The Luzhin Defense won’t be available until early next year, but don’t let that sway your vote! We’ll get it to you as soon as possible if one is your favorite. The rest are currently available.

Editor Spotlight: Vintage Editor Lexy Bloom on our rich Japanese Backlist

One of the interesting things about working as an editor at Vintage is discovering the many gems hiding on our vastly diverse backlist. Of particular interest to me is our Vintage International list, home to many of the great masters of modern Japanese literature, among others, such as Yukio Mishima, Kobo Abe, and Junichiro Tanizaki, and, of course, Haruki Murakami. As someone with an interest in contemporary Japanese fiction — I edit Natsuo Kirino and others — I had read some of the modern Japanese masters, but certainly not all of them. It’s been an enjoyable project for me to oversee the repackaging and repromotion of many of these classic novels.

A great place to start is with Junichiro Tanizaki’s fabulous novel THE MAKIOKA SISTERS, often called “the greatest Japanese novel of the 20th century.”

In 2007, Leonard Lopate selected this novel as part of his “Underappreciated Writers” series, stating this: “In the rigid literary society of Japan, Junichiro Tanizaki stood out by constructing long narratives whose imaginative content, amplitude, and structure can rightly be called novelistic. He eschewed shishosetsu – the Japanese genre that most closely resembles the novel but includes autobiographical details – choosing instead to call attention to the fictionality of his texts. . .”

Click  here to listen to entire piece.

Interview with Sapphire, author of PUSH (Now the Major Motion Picture PRECIOUS)

 

Director Lee Daniels’ movie “Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire” opened last weekend to record breaking box office.  The movie has already won the 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Toronto People’s Choice Award (the only film to have ever won both awards). 

The story behind the making of the film “Precious” is almost as compelling as the movie itself: Watching this recent interview with Sapphire and find out more about the background story of how Sapphire worked closely with Daniels to help adapt PUSH into “Precious”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj5gbFecRFw.

“Precious” is based on the #1 best-selling novel PUSH by Sapphire, which follows Precious Jones who at 16-years old and already pregnant with her second child, meets a determined and highly devoted teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.

“Precious” is now playing is currently playing in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.  The movie opens tomorrow in Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Dallas and San Francisco.

For more information, including interviews with “Precious” executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, and director Lee Daniels please visit: http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/screen/featured.html.

 

Art Director John Gall on The Nabokov Collection

Today’s Design Observer highlights John Gall’s recent project — a redesign of our Nabokov backlist.

See a brief excerpt of here:

“Every so often, a dream project lands on your desk. Here’s one: redesign Vladimir Nabokov’s book covers. All twenty-one of them. Let me rephrase. Every so often the most daunting project of your entire life arrives on your desk.

*****

Nabokov was a passionate butterfly collector, a theme that has cropped up on some of his past covers. My idea was also a play on this concept. Each cover consists of a photograph of a specimen box, the kind used by collectors like Nabokov to display insects. Each box would be filled with paper, ephemera, and insect pins, selected to somehow evoke the book’s content. And to make it more interesting for readers — and less daunting for me — I thought it would be fun to ask a group of talented designers to help create the boxes.

Here’s who I asked: Chip Kidd, Carol Carson, Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin, Megan Wilson and Duncan Hannah, Rodrigo Corral, Martin Venezky, Charles Wilkin, Helen Yentus and Jason Booher, Peter Mendelsund, Sam Potts, Dave Eggers, Paul Sahre, Stephen Doyle, Carin Goldberg, Michael Bierut, Barbara de Wilde, and Marian Bantjes.”


Please visit Design Observer for complete slide show.

Equal parts Margaret Mead, Albert Camus and Indiana Jones, meet Daniel Everett

When Professor Daniel Everett set off for the tiny village of the Pirahã people, located deep in the heart of the Amazon, his goal was to convert the 350-person indigenous tribe to Christianity. Thirty years later, he emerged an expert, enthusiast and atheist.Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, DON’T SLEEP, THERE ARE SNAKES is Everett’s riveting account of his life-changing experiences and discoveries deep in the Amazon jungle. Everett spent seven of the last thirty years living alongside the Pirahã, captivated and inspired by their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã ethos is rooted in the present, and driven only by immediate goals and needs; this worldview is reflected in their unique language in several ways.  See below a sampling of images and sounds from the Piraha’s.

In the Pirahã language, there is such a complex array of tones, stresses and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonants altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations:

Listen to a A Pirahã Song.

Learn how to say:: Tomorrow I will collect Brazilnuts – in Pirahã

Below are select images from the area:

On the Maici River, approaching the Piraha Villages

The Piraha helping Daniel disembark from the boat

A view of a Piraha village from across the river

A young Piraha family from one of the villages

Please visit Professor Everett’s website for more information. His memoir DON’T SLEEP THERE ARE SNAKES is available wherever books are sold.

CRIME CANDY: Nursery Crimes

Lately I’ve been thinking about the rap sheet of my youth. Item One is bad and I know it. I was eleven and in thrall to a Mean Girl (she’s earned her caps, trust me). M.G. broke into and thoroughly trashed our neighbors’ house while they were on vacation because their twelve-year-old son didn’t like her back. I watched, still as a bunny under the eye of a hawk. Never touched a thing, but also never said anything. But maybe this incident put me off crime permanently—except on the page of course—because Item Two is ridiculous: peach wine cooler filched from parents’ fridge, age sixteen. And there isn’t an Item Three, unless we want to start counting parking tickets. So why am I obsessing about this? Three upturned, pearly little faces, that’s why. Mothers worry about everything. I should probably switch to the H1N1 flu or Kindergarten readiness, especially since my oldest are still in preschool, but crime has always been the more appealing subject. Plus I’m serious when I say I worry about good kids gone mysteriously bad. I’ve seen it happen, but that’s a story for another day.

Field of Blood by Denise MinaThinking about these little and not so little nursery crimes naturally brings to my mind a few novels that have done well by the subject. I’m not talking about Lifetime movie-of-the-week type thrillers with a kidnapping or worse thrown in for good measure. Those creep me out, and not in a good way. I mean novels that have dealt as honestly as possible with the parallel-yet-all-too-permeable world that is childhood and what happens when crime infects it. Close to tops on my list is Denise Mina’s Paddy Mehan series, which begins with Field of Blood. Finally! You should know that I’ve had to stop myself from writing about Denise Mina in every Crime Candy installment. Vintage doesn’t publish her and she hasn’t got a new book out (damn and double-damn). I’ve made it two entire columns without metaphorically throwing myself at Mina’s feet in abject worship. That’s achievement enough I think. Set in Glasgow in 1981, Field of Blood introduces Paddy Mehan, a working-class young woman just shot of her teens who has by dint of thankless toil as a copyboy secured a coveted promotion to cub reporter at the Scottish Daily News. Everyone, including her close-knit family, hates her for it. 1980’s Glasgow is a sooty, crumbling city with little sympathy for a heavyset lass who ditches her perfectly acceptable Catholic fiancé for a career. Within days of Paddy’s promotion, the Garnethill by Denise Minacity coughs up a horrific crime: a ten year old boy named Callum is accused of murdering another child. As Paddy learns the particulars of the case, she realizes that she alone at the newspaper has a valuable personal connection to the accused boy. He is the cousin of her shelved fiancé. What follows is a brilliantly written stay-up-til-the-wee-hours exploration of crime, childhood, class, morals, and ambition. Mina doesn’t shy away from gritty truths like the fact that poverty chips relentlessly away at childhood but neither does she turn a blind eye to anything good that might happen in a strapped neighborhood like some crime writers do in a forced effort to be “extra-noir.” That’s what makes these novels feel real. And as accomplished as this series is, her Garnethill Trilogy is even better. If you haven’t read Denise Mina, I urge you to. Her next crime novel pubs March 22, 2010. I’ve already let my husband know that upon return from the bookstore that day I’ll need 24 hours alone and a large supply of chocolate bars and coffee. Can’t wait.

The Sister by Poppy AdamsNext up is a poisonous, gorgeous gem of a novel—The Sister, by Poppy Adams. I have recommended this satisfying novel to every crime-loving friend I have (except that one who inexplicably insists on reading only tea cozies. Why?!? I’ll pay someone to run over Aunt Dimity’s stuffed pink rabbit.). And all have loved it. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by the crumbling Victorian mansion stuffed to the gills with moth and butterfly carcasses and the tale of its lone inhabitant, the elderly, eccentric Ginny Kendal, last of a long line of distinguished natural scientists? Ginny is waiting with impatience for her younger sister, Vivi, to arrive for a visit. It’s been fifty years since Vivi has last been home. And why might that be? Adams deftly takes the reader back through the sisters’ decidedly unhinged childhood to find out. And what a deliciously chilling journey it is. Ginny’s sharp-yet-unreliable memory contrasts with Vivi’s modern-day implacable “see-no-evil-hear-no-evil” attitude to excellent effect. The last chapter of this novel is superb—creepy, amusing, and perfectly final all at once. Don’t miss it.

Poe's Children edited by Peter StraubOn a semi-related topic, do you treat yourself to some Halloween reading every year? I do. One book I’ve been dipping into is Poe’s Children: The New Horror, edited by Peter Straub. This collection of short stories is packed with A-list authors like Dan Chaon, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Kelly Link. But most importantly, these stories are actually scary. Really scary. Maybe too scary. I could not get to sleep last night after reading a few of them. Time for another viewing of the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as a palate cleanser. Since I clearly need to parcel out stories from Poe’s Children if I have any hope of sleeping well, I’ll gladly take suggestions for further holiday reading. Halloween really is the best holiday, isn’t it? My ideal Halloween reading combines crime with a bit of a traditional scare. Light on the gross-out factor, please. I’ll also admit to a pathetic partiality to vampires. The first five people to post a recommendation or comment will get a copy of The Sister or Poe’s Children. Your choice.

The Best Years of Your Life

Part Two: Faculty Fumbles

Okay—maybe my melodramatic yearning for my college days in my last post was a little premature (it was August, after all…). But now that a chilly bite in the air greets me every morning and a jacket is more of a necessity than an accessory, there’s no excuse for me not to lament missing out on another year of collegiate delirium.

Last time I tackled the dark side of students’ social lives, but it should be noted that there are also plenty of great novels that skewer a group of people who behave badly before darkness falls: the faculty.

Now, I’m actually lucky enough to have really loved my professors in college. We had these fantastic, basically collaborative working relationships and, after those four years, we remain pretty close. From what I gather, though, the typical college faculty member is often a chilly, self-important cipher; an obstacle rather than an aide; at best, some kind of twisted frenemy. Hell, even I will admit to having one or two professors like that (you know who you are!).

Luckily, here are three books that shed some [farcical] light on the foibles of life on the faculty—each serving its own special brand of comeuppance:

 Lucky JimLucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

Tactless, tacky, and tawdry, Jim Dixon is a Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed British university; it’s a position to which he is not particularly dedicated and at which he is not especially good. After making a rather bad first impression upon the rest of the history faculty, Jim tries to ensure his first year at the institution won’t be his last by sucking up to his superior: a nearly brilliant-but-senseless man called Professor Welch. The more enmeshed he becomes with Welch, though, the more problematic his life becomes. With Jim’s truly grating, suicidal sweetheart (another lecturer senior to him) pulling at him from one end and the beautiful Christine, Welch’s son’s fiancé, pulling at him from the other, it’s only a matter of time before he cracks. And that’s just what he does—while drunkenly delivering a lecture before the school. Jim’s speech on “Merrie England” quickly degenerates into a series of barbs about all of his pet peeves, most pointedly Welch himself. Needless to say, Jim’s career at the university isn’t long-lived after that. But it’s truly one of the most uproarious comedic climaxes in all of literature. And, somehow, Jim still manages to get the last laugh. 

PNINPnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Timofey Pnin, professor of Russian at the fictional Waindell College, is probably the kind of professor who would become a favorite of the student body. This isn’t because he’s particularly compelling or laid back or funny. Rather, it’s because this peculiar little Russian émigré is completely ineffectual and hopelessly tragic. Basically: a real pushover. In the protagonist’s defense, he is not an idiot, nor much of an intentional troublemaker. He simply cannot adapt to life in the United States after hurriedly leaving Europe after what he calls the ‘Hitler war’. Nevertheless, failure is imminent. The book (a collection of linked stories) opens with Pnin traveling to deliver a lecture at another institution. Quite naturally, however, he has boarded the wrong train. Hilarity ensues. Not all of Pnin’s turmoil is set in the classroom, though; a truly gruesome (and side-splitting) visit from his ex-wife lends some personal background to the character. Nevertheless, it’s his ongoing conflict with the rest of the language department that does him in, and Pnin is dismissed from Waindell, set free to bluster—ineffectually and tragically—into an uncertain horizon.

Straight ManStraight Man by Richard Russo

When a campus novel opens with its anti-hero hiding in the rafters above a meeting where the faculty just narrowly misses the needed number of votes to approve his dismissal, you know you’re in for a memorable campus satire. William “Hank” Henry Devereaux, Jr., interim chairman of the English department at a fictional Pennsylvania state university, is essentially a jackass and, In the face of looming budget cuts, faculty layoffs, and a possible prostate condition, he quickly begins to unravel. Among student-teacher flirtations and hilarious riffs on creative writing workshops, Hank becomes so unhinged that he publicly grabs a goose on campus (misidentifying it as a duck, naturally) and threatens to kill one a day until he receives the budget he’s requested for the following year. It’s when a goose really does turn up murdered, though, that Hank’s problems truly begin.

Jim, Pnin, and Hank almost certainly bring all this grief onto themselves, but it’s a little difficult not find a tiny soft spot in your heart for them. Still, while things don’t work out particularly well for any of them, readers will still be blissfully amused from cover to cover, riding a euphoric wave of schadenfreude. It’s the perfect way to release any pent-up aggression that still lingers for your college professors—or a nice reminder of how terrific they actually were.

Next time: The Big Finish. . .

scowl

David Archer is a publicity assistant at Vintage Books & Anchor Books. He graduated from Bennington College in 2008 and hasn’t gotten over it yet.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Book Covers

We design most of our covers in-house at Vintage and Anchor. On occasion we like to get a fresh take on things and look to outside designers for help. I asked Peter Buchanan-Smith to take on the redesign of Raymond Carver’s backlist for the 25th anniversary of Vintage Contemporaries. He came up with the perfect idea: using the stunning and luminous, suburban night photography of Todd Hido for the covers. Peter conducted the following interview with Todd exclusively for the Sun and Anchor.

—John Gall


Click the images above to see Peter Buchanan-Smith and Todd Hido’s creations in full-size.

Peter Buchanan-Smith: Hi, Todd. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. When John Gall at Vintage asked if I would be interested in re-designing the Raymond Carver library I responded as if it was my call to arms—this was the moment I had been preparing for. Carver’s short stories have had a profound impact on me. I soon found your large body of work—the desolate landscapes, abandoned motel rooms, and the nocturnal detached homes—and there was absolutely no doubt that these images would be (had to be!) the new face of Raymond Carver. I have to admit that it was only after I had submitted the first round of designs that I learned that this tailor-made well of photographs was even more too good to be true: much of it was actually shot in Carver Country (the Pacific Northwest). With all of this in mind, I have 5 questions I am dying to ask you…

The most obvious: what impact has Raymond Carver’s work had on you?

Todd Hido: Firstly, I must say that when I first heard of the possibility of you wanting to use my photographs on the reissue of his books I thought “my god this might be one of the most important and significant things that my images are ever used for”—a dream really to contribute something to such an amazing author’s body of published work.

As for his impact on my work—when I read Carver I see pictures.

It makes me lust after going out to hunt for places to shoot.

I think for me the biggest influence he has had on my work is that when I discovered [his work], it put words, stories and characters in my mind that I had been searching for.  I instinctively knew these people from my past experiences—they totally resonated with me.

PB-S: What drew you to the Pacific Northwest / Carver Country in the first place?

TH: I have been to Yakima and that area of Central Washington many times to shoot. It was a place that reminded me of where I grew up in Ohio.

Rough around the edges. Worn out. Snowy, rolling hills surrounded by lots of rural farmland with a working class ethic. I also shoot near Sacramento often; he lived there as well.

PB-S: Tell us about the place where Carver and the landscape intersect in your mind. How did he come into your imagination as your traveled the Northwest? Could you feel him as your drove through those streets late at night?

TH: For me the imagined intersection happens when I am looking for stories that might illuminate or inspire my images.

I find many of my pictures of places to actually be about people—really about relationships.

Carver’s words fill in the void of me not really knowing much about the people who live where I photograph. {I never interact with the people—I just shoot} He gave me ideas about who the people were that I imagined living in the places and landscapes I photographed. Those ideas are always with me when I shoot.

Later a real intersection happened when I first used one of his poems, “The Phone Booth” at the end of Roaming, my book of landscapes. It was the perfect thing to help clarify what I was feeling. It is a very poignant poem about endings and not knowing where to go from there.

In another book of mine Between the Two, I used his poem “Energy.” This one was mostly portraits of women. His poem is about his daughter. She easily could have been one of the people in my book! My favorite line in that poem is:

Can take a cigarette down to the filter in 3 draws, just like her mother.

PB-S: Knowing that you have been on the trail of Raymond Carver for so long, did it ever cross your mind (even subconsciously) that the real reason you might actually be taking these pictures is to some day end up as Raymond Carver covers?

TH: Never in a thousand years would I have thought that my work would be so lucky to end up on his book covers—it might actually be fate!

PB-S: Throughout the course of this project I have looked at your photographs endlessly, weighing them up left right and center, trying to find the one that will strike that perfect note. Now that a few of these images have been selected, and have finally made it into print, do you see those images – the ones you have analyzed more than anyone – any differently now?

TH: They certainly have more gravity to me. I love the selections you have made so far. I feel it is a special union—dark, stark, based in reality, but hopeful. It opens the images up for me more.

Honestly, I can’t wait to line them all up in a row!

What I am very curious about is how the longtime fans and collectors of Carver will see them. I really look forward to the response.

Todd Hido has a show of his photographs opening on September 10th at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York City.*
*John Gall is the Art Director for Vintage and Anchor Books.*