Middlesex author and Pulitzer Prize winner (and Year in Reading alum) Jeffrey Eugenides has a new story out in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. Titled “Find the Bad Guy,” it may well be the first New Yorker story to show a character playing Words with Friends. Sample quote: “She had her arms around me, and we were rocking, real soft-like, the way Meg did after we gave her that kitten, before it died, I mean, when it was just a warm and cuddly thing instead of like it had hoof and mouth, and went south on us.”
Here’s what Eugenides should have added by way of closing: the so-called writer has to wear all sorts of hats: writer, reader, editor, negotiator, businessman, self-promoter, etc. And only the first of these hats should never be worn outside one’s private necropolis. The next two have the odd responsibility of communing — patiently, cautiously, and courageously — with the dead self. The rest must find of way of coming to terms with life among the living.
Writing might initially happen in a vacuum, but books emerge and live somewhere very different. To ignore all this is at best wishful thinking and at worse self-sabotage…Eugenides’s decision to ignore this vast reality is less troubling than another feature of his advice: that it comes from the Pulitzer Prize winner himself. After all, Eugenides can write inside his make-believe casket and enjoy the spectacle of his well-attended funeral, too.
THE MARRIAGE PLOT begins with an epigraph from the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”
With that in mind, we asked Jeffrey Eugenides if he would curate a playlist to be used as a soundtrack to the book. He picked songs that he thought Madeline, Leonard, and Mitchell might have been listening to in the early 1980s (pre-1983).
Click play on the cover above for the playlist to launch in your Spotify player.
If you don’t have Spotify, the playlist is after the jump.
Jeffrey Eugenides: great 80s party DJ, or greatest 80s party DJ?