The 4thcoming series is all about introducing you to our authors. If you’ve ever wondered what your favourite 4th Estate author is currently reading, listening to or what their writing ritual is, then we’ve got all those answers for you.
Matthew Klam’s novel Who Is Rich? is a warped and exhilarating tale of love and lust, erotic pleasure, envy and bitterness in the new gilded age that goes far beyond humour and satire to address deeper questions: of family, monogamy, the intoxicating beauty of children and the challenging interdependence of two soulful, sensitive creatures in a confusing domestic alliance. Find out more from the cover reveal here.
Name: Matthew Klam
Occupation: At the moment maybe: dance dad, spouse, dog walker, cook, maid, driver, backyard fence fixer, plumber, gardener, sex object. I was gone for 7 months, living in LA, working on a TV show, and got back a few weeks ago and noticed a leak in the roof, blown lightbulbs, peeling paint on the porch, toys that hadn’t been touched in 10 years lying around. Before the TV writer gig, I published a novel, and was a professor at Johns Hopkins University for 9 years. Before that I was a magazine journalist for the NYT Mag, GQ, Harpers, etc. Before that I wrote short stories.
What you’re reading: All kinds of stuff. For dialogue I’m reading 2 plays, The Flick, by Annie Baker, and Happy Now? by Lucinda Coxon. Because I’m messing around with a screenplay, I’m reading some screenplays, Wonder Boys, Breaking Bad, American Beauty. I’ve noticed that some have voice over, but you can’t rely on voice over. You gotta show it! But as a prose writer, I’m drawn to voiceover and can’t help wondering how much voiceover I can get away with. Short stories: Too Far To Go, by Updike, The Bed Moved, by Rebecca Schiff; Novels: Class Trip by Carrere, Sweetbitter by Danler; criticism: You Play the Girl, on art and feminism, by Carina Chocano. Poems, Olena Kalytiak Davis’s Shattered Sonnets, and Sharon Olds’ Stags Leap. For TV gig research on espionage: The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum and The Black Banners, a hilarious insider memoirs from a former CIA agent who describes international spies as a bunch of clowns.
What you’re listening to: Yellow Days, The Mountain Goats, Todd Rundgren, Carly Simon from 1975.
What you’re watching: Atlanta, The Night Manager, Spooks, the British spy show. On our counterespionage TV show, we stole a lot from Spooks.
Favourite word(s): lithe, and especially when it’s applied to the mind. I met Stanley Kunitz when he was 95 years old and thought that his mind was still so quick, loose, graceful, sensitive and full of energy.
Favourite song: Love is Blind, by Amy Winehouse.
Living person you most admire: my neighbor, Tom.
The trait you most deplore in yourself: my strangeness.
The trait you most deplore in others: lack of interest in life.
The book you wish you’d written: The Corrections
The book everyone should read: Reading is too subjective to assume everyone would like the same book, but maybe BE HERE NOW, by Ram Dass.
Writing ritual: First, 6 or 7 hours sleep. Then coffee. I wish I could smoke cigarettes. Oh well.
Best advice ever received: Reading is the only way to become a better writer.
If you could change one thing about the world: I’d make dogs a little smarter.
Think of something beautiful: This morning, a big wind came and blew the cherry blossoms off my neighbor’s tree into my coffee cup. I tried to drink them.
The most memorable sentence you’ve ever read: “They threw me off the hay truck about noon.” — opening line of The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M Cain
If you weren’t writing: I’m really not writing. It’s kind of nice not obsessing. It won’t last.
Who would play the main characters in a film adaptation of your book? The Paul Newman of ‘Cool Hand Luke.’
Best place to write? Home.
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