Thursday, July 16, 2015

What is Harry MacLean reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Harry MacLean, author of The Joy of Killing.

His entry begins:
Like many readers, I keep several books going at once, often one at my bedside, one to travel with and one in my den. I recently finished Dead Wake, The Sinking of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson, and was once again impressed by his ability to take an historical event and make it come alive by deep research and rich character development. Not quite up there with In the Garden of Beasts, his fascinating work on pre-WWII Nazi Germany, but...[read on]
About The Joy of Killing, from the publisher:
In his classic works of true crime, Harry MacLean examined the dark side of America and its fascination with violence. In The Joy of Killing, he builds upon this expert knowledge to create a page-turning literary thriller — an exciting combination of love story, mystery, psychological suspense, and meditation on human nature and the origins of violence.

This fever dream begins on a stormy fall night at a lake house in the north woods of Minnesota, where we are introduced to a college professor who a few years earlier had written a novel in which he justified a gruesome campus murder under the nihilistic theory that there is no right or wrong, no moral center to man’s activity. The writer returns to the lake house where he had spent his childhood summers and locks himself in the attic, intent on writing the final story of his life. Playing on a continuous loop in his mind are key moments in his past: his childhood in small-town Iowa, where he and his best friend befriended a local drifter; his childhood on the lake where one summer a local boy drowned in a storm; and the central fixation of his erotic meeting with a girl on a train bound for Chicago when he was just fifteen. All of these threads weave together as the writer tries to piece together the multitude of secrets and acts of violence that make up one human life.

Reminiscent of the work of noir master Derek Raymond and John Banville’s The Sea with a touch of David Lynch, The Joy of Killing, with its haunting language and vivid images, is both a fascinating look into the fugue state of one man’s mind as well as a searing, philosophical look at violence and its impact on our human condition. With its elegant structure, multiple storylines, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, the novel is the tour-de-force fiction debut by one of America’s premier writers of true crime.
Visit Harry MacLean's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Joy of Killing.

The Page 69 Test: The Joy of Killing.

Writers Read: Harry MacLean.

--Marshal Zeringue