Saturday, September 09, 2023

Q&A with Brian Carso

From my Q&A with Brian Carso, author of Gideon's Revolution: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Early on, I needed a working title. One of the many sources I used for this historical novel was Benson Lossing’s monumental Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (1860), commonly referred to as “Lossing’s Revolution.” My narrator is named Gideon, so I began to simply refer to the work as “Gideon’s Revolution.”

Over time, the title grew on me. The story is Gideon’s account of his activity as a soldier in the American Revolution, but make no mistake: his revolution is as much internal as it is external. So I think the title hints at some process of change, of revelation.

The name “Gideon” has a biblical reference that I conjure up at the end of the story in the hope that it promotes a bit of an epiphany. The best title I know is Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. For nearly the entire story, the reader assumes it’s an allusion to the anger the Joad family feels about the many depression-era indignities they suffer. But when you hit the last few pages (an ending much different from the 1940 film), you can follow the breadcrumbs Steinbeck provides to connect the name of Rosasharn (for “Rose of Sharon”) and her extraordinary act of mercy with a biblical passage that turns the phrase “grapes of wrath” into an unforgettable gut punch.

In that spirit...[read on]
Visit Brian Carso's website.

Q&A with Brian Carso.

--Marshal Zeringue