The first time I met Zachary German was at a restaurant where they had noodles and beer. Zach had thick glasses and would be quiet a long time and then suddenly start asking a lot of short questions. He has big eyes sometimes. Later, a bunch of people walked to an apartment and Zach smoked a pipe and when we got there he went and bought several 40s and we talked about rap.
This was right before Zach’s Bear Parade ebook version of Eat When You Feel Sad came out. Reading EWYFS in this form I remember feeling both confused and intrigued, the blankness of it, and the feeling behind the blankness that I couldn’t name, and why I wanted to keep looking at it. Zach’s is surely a voice unlike most any other for this way of its small, selected observations, the rendering of time and space in direct, neutral seconds, which somehow in cohesion form a center you could not have labeled in another way.
Last month Melville House Publishing released the full version of Eat When You Feel Sad, a novel, which takes off from the place the original excerpt began and develops that indirect interiority even beyond what I’d expected in the first taste. Herein, Zach offers an answer for one of the bitchiest matters in books: How to deliver presence or “heart” without sounding predictable or like a dolt. It’s truly a refreshing and oddly powerful collage of moments, music, staring, speaking, eating, boredom. This is a new thing, an odd object that somehow opens great feeling in its calm.
Over email I talked with Zach about the book’s creation, his manners of selection, minimalism, his humor influences, bedtime, revision, and so on.
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Author Spotlight / 87 Comments
March 1st, 2010 / 5:45 pm
(Previous entries in this series: Part 2, Part 1.)
It’s been a long couple of weeks for me, slogging toward the end of my teaching semester. I’m coming to you live right now from the basement of Murray Hall, New Brunswick NJ, for probably the last time until September. It’s a nice little office, as windowless cold rooms go, but I can’t say I’ll be sorry to be apart from it all summer. Anyway. Yesterday I finished grading my students’ last homework papers, and in a half hour I give them their final, which I spend all of tonight and tomorrow grading, so I can be done by Wednesday. What does all this mean? It means that I had a bit of time this morning to actually read something that wasn’t student work. So I whipped out my copy of NOON, uncapped my Krispy Kreme coffee, settled into my window seat, and picked up where I left off.
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May 5th, 2009 / 1:44 pm