Noah Hawley keeps changing lanes

The nucleus that became “Anthem” began to percolate about five years ago. Hawley had published his previous novel, “Before the fall,” w...

The nucleus that became “Anthem” began to percolate about five years ago. Hawley had published his previous novel, “Before the fall,” with Hachette, and Michael Pietsch, the managing director of the company, was eager to sign it up for another. Hawley’s publisher had just left the company, so Pietsch offered to edit the book himself.

“You could do worse than the guy who edited ‘Infinite Jest’,” Hawley said of Pietsch.

In the summer of 2019, Hawley planned to work on the book during a two-month family vacation to Europe. In a bookstore in London, he gathered a stack of novels that had been “eureka moments” to him, he said, including “The New York Trilogy” by Paul Auster; “The unbearable lightness of being”, by Milan Kundera; “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, by Gabriel García Márquez; and “Song of Solomon,” by Toni Morrison.

“And now you’re traveling with a box of books and you’re like, ‘Why haven’t I bought two? »» He remembers. “But it seemed essential to me that I have them all.”

“Anthem” is woven together using a number of contemporary threads, primarily seen through the eyes of teenagers fighting to save and each other. One of the main characters, Simon, is the descendant of a pharmaceutical fortune formed by the sale of opioids. A culture war turns into an armed conflict, in a way that reads as if it were a riff on January 6 – except that Hawley wrote it the previous October.

“One of the ideas explored in the book is what unifies us now when there is so much that tears us apart,” Pietsch said. “Imagine being a child, hearing that the oceans are dying, that bees are dying, reading about the opioid epidemic, seeing these political battles and reading about sexual predation. That feeling that the world you live in is being destroyed before your eyes, and what will be in it for you? How should it be and what can you do? “

The book is cinematic and at times fantastic. An insurgent points a gun at one of the protagonists and says: “There is no God”, then a missile explodes behind him. An enchanted Amazon truck magically supplies material for our heroes’ needs, whether it’s to tie up an opponent or stitch up a wound.

“The magical realism of the book,” said Hawley, “it was a relief, because magical realism has a way of making ugly things beautiful. Think about Marquez and ‘A Hundred Years of Loneliness’, and how much tragedy in this book which is offset by the fantasy and the beauty of not knowing what might happen next. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: Noah Hawley keeps changing lanes
Noah Hawley keeps changing lanes
Newsrust - US Top News
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