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Territoires (Black House, Talisman 2)

paru en octobre 2001 aux USA

Territoires a été publié chez Laffont le 18 octobre 2002.

ma note de lecture

La quatrième de couverture :

Il y a vingt ans, Jack a survécu à l'enfer des Territoires. Aujourd'hui, pour l'amour d'un enfant, il va franchir une nouvelle fois la frontière.

French Landing, paisible bourgade du Wisconsin, est terrorisée par un serial killer. Désemparé, le shérif fait appel à son ami Jack Sawyer, un ancien flic d'Hollywood.

L'enquête conduit Jack jusqu'à une maison que l'on dit hantée, nichée au fond des bois. L'endroit réveille en sa mémoire les échos d'un monde parallèle qu'il lui semble avoir déjà visité : il y a vingt ans, pour sauver sa mère, Jack a pénétré la contrée magique et terrifiante des Territoires. Aujourd'hui, il a tout oublié. Et il a peur de son passé.

Très vite, d'étranges messages lui parviennent et les réminiscences se font souvenirs. L'enquête de police se change alors en quête fantastique.

Il ne s'agit plus de démasquer un serial killer, mais d'arracher un enfant des mains du souverain des Territoires, le Roi écarlate. Pour Tyler, petit garçon aux cheveux blonds, et Judy, la mère de celui-ci, Jack est prêt à mourir - pire, à replonger dans les Territoires.

- Stephen King n'a pas son pareil pour dresser un tableau réaliste et terrifiant de l'Amérique d'aujourd'hui, rehaussé par les irruptions d'un fantastique ravageur. Ses grands romans, Carrie, Christine, Misery... ont été montés à l'écran et font de lui un maître moderne de l'horreur : chacun de ses livres est un événement international.

- Peter Straub est également l'un des grands romanciers du fantastique contemporain. Son Ghost Story est l'un des best-sellers incontestés du genre. Auteur de quatorze romans, récompensé par de nombreux prix littéraires, il a notamment fait paraître La Gorge, Le Club de l'Enfer, Monsieur X et Koko.

LA FANTASY dans Le Talisman et Les Territoires.

LA FANTASY DANS L'OEUVRE DE STEPHEN KING

Stephen King est réputé pour être un des spécialistes du genre "Fantastique horrifique". Mais il a aussi écrit des oeuvres de Fantasy, d'abord peu nombreuses, mais qui se sont multipliées avec ses expériences sur La Tour Sombre. Il semblerait actuellement que la carrière du maître de l'horreur s'achèvera dans la fantasy, puisqu'il a prévu d'arrêter d'écrire après la publication du septiève volume de la saga, en 2004. Le temps paraît venu de faire un bilan de la place que tient le genre littéraire le plus vieux de l'humanité dans sa production littéraire, le plus vieux puisque les légendes et les récits mythiques ont nourri l'imagination des hommes archaïques depuis des dizaines de millénaires.

LA PLACE DE L'ÉCOLOGIE

Le Talisman se déroule partie sur terre, et partie dans les Territoires, occasion de dénoncer en profondeur les perturbations écologiques graves que subissaient déjà les USA il y a vingt ans. La critique écologique de King/Straub porte sur deux points. La pollution en général, mais aussi la pollution nucléaire et les transformations, biologiques notamment, qu'elle entraîne. Si Les Territoires commencent avec des considérations écologistes sur l'attrait des territoires, la suite va dans une toute autre direction, avec la dénonciation des formes de pensée (alliance des sciences et des techniques pour l'augmentation des biens de consommation, dans une perspective capitalistique) qui ont permis le progrès, qu'on qualifie dans les Territoires de "pensée empoisonnée".

LE COMBAT ENTRE LE BIEN ET LE MAL

Les récits fondateurs des mythes et des religions forment un vaste ensemble dont la finalité est l'explication du monde, faite avec les concepts et les outils mentaux de l'époque. Littérairement, on peut considérer que ces récits mettent en présence ou en conflit les plus anciens personnages fantastiques de l'histoire des hommes, entités et dieux, partagées entre le Bien et le Mal situé au coeur de ces histoires, entre ce qui est souhaitable et ce qui ne l'est pas. King, auteur fantastique, reconnaît volontiers que sa production est dominée par ce conflit entre les deux ordres immémoriaux : "Avant tout, je suis intéressé par le bien et le mal, que ces pouvoirs du bien comme du mal existent ou non en dehors de nous. Je pense que ces concepts du bien et du mal sont dans le coeur humain. Et parce que j'ai été élevé dans une famille de religion plutôt stricte (Méthodiste), j'ai tendance à combiner ces concepts de bien et de mal et je les mets dans mon oeuvre."

Territoires sera publié chez Laffont à la mi-octobre 2002.

Communiqué de l'éditeur :

Un événement attendu depuis seize ans : la suite de Talisman, par les maîtres incontournables et incontestables de la littérature fantastique contemporaine. Paru en 1986 (puis 1997) chez Robert Laffont, Talisman avait remporté un immense succès en France comme à l'étranger. Depuis, la popularité des deux auteurs n'a fait que grandir, notamment celle de Stephen King, dont chaque nouveau livre est un événement. Si leurs fans attendaient cette nouvelle collaboration, les non-initiés dévoreront aussi ce roman dont on voudrait qu'il ne finisse jamais…

Au sommet de leur art, King et Straub retrouvent ici leur héros et le même monde : l'univers fantastique des Territoires, à la frontière du réel et de l'irréel.

Ce monde, c'est celui de Talisman, dont le héros avait alors douze ans. Il est maintenant un adulte, chevalier amoureux prêt à sacrifier sa vie pour sauver un enfant. Dans ce suspense d'une efficacité rare, distillé scène après scène, il nous transporte par-delà la frontière qui sépare une Amérique hyperréaliste et souvent sordide de l'univers fantastique des Territoires, peuplé de monstres dévorants, mais aussi de créatures fascinantes et féeriques.

Du thriller au fantastique et même à l'horreur : une intrigue digne des meilleurs scénarios des frères Cohen.

French Landing, paisible bourgade du Wisconsin, est terrorisée par un meurtrier cannibale qui enlève les enfants. Face au mal absolu, le chef de la police locale fait appel à son ami, un ancien flic d'Hollywood, Jack Sawyer. Son enquête le conduit jusqu'à une étrange Maison Noire, demeure au bout d'un sentier perdu dans les bois. Les murs de la maison sont bizarrement flous ; un bourdonnement indéfinissable l'entoure. L'endroit réveille dans la mémoire de Jack les échos étranges d'un monde parallèle qu'il lui semble avoir déjà visité…

Les auteurs vus par l'éditeur : Stephen King est l'auteur de plus de quarante romans, tous des best-sellers mondiaux, traduits dans 32 langues, et dont la plupart ont été portés à l'écran.

Peter Straub a écrit quatorze romans traduits en une dizaine de langues.

éditions poche....US

 

 

L'affiche publicitaire de l'éditeur Random House

édition US

édition UK

Photo de couverture

nouvelle édition aux USA du Talisman 1

Octobre 2001.

Sortie de Black House en librairie aux USA.

Le roman Black House possède désormais son propre site depuis le 7 Août 2001 :

http://www.blackhousebook.com/

La version audio (Cassette et CD), éditée par Simon & Schuster), est lue par Frank Muller. Durée : 23 heures (pour 27 heures pour The Talisman ).

Juin 2001

La rédaction de Black House (Talisman 2), actuellement terminée, a pris plus de temps que prévu. Conséquences :

1. Les extraits prévus ne seront publiés sur le web qu'en juin.

2. Le début de la rédaction du 5è tome de La Tour Sombre est retardé d'autant et ne commencerait que cet été.

Le manuscrit a été remis à l'éditeur.

Nov. 2000.

Le nouveau titre de l'ex-Talisman 2 devient Black House. Sortie prévue pour Octobre 2001. L'ouvrage devrait être long de 576 pages et sera publié par Random House.

Une nouvelle, sous format de livre électronique (probablement disponible uniquement sur Internet), devrait faire le lien entre les deux ouvrages, à l'initiative de King.

  Concernant ce projet, Peter Straub a publié une lettre où il déclare que le travail a commencé. "Nous commençons à rassembler quelques idées de base". Le projet a pris un peu de retard, vient juste de commencer en ce mois de janvier, et demandera "une année et demie de travail pour être achevé". Les choses semblent se mettre bien en place. Le livre a été vendu à l'éditeur Random House et pourrait être publié en 2002. Les deux compères sont tout heureux de ce travail : "He and I are very excited about this project."

Le roman sera évidemment consacré à Jack, l'enfant de 12 ans du Talisman, devenu maintenant adulte. Jack Sawyer aurait maintenant 31 ans et habiterait dans une ferme du Wisconsin Occidental.

"Notre intention serait de faire une histoire plus dure et plus sombre que le premier livre, avec davantage d'horreur et moins de fantasy", a déclaré Straub dans un communiqué.

Voir mon étude :

En marge du Talisman des Territoires : LA COSMOGONIE DU TALISMAN.

Le Talisman annonce de nombreux aspects qui constitueront la conception du monde que King mettra en place dans le cycle de la Tour Sombre et Insomnie. Au-delà de la quête de Jack/Jason, le lecteur découvre des mondes multiples (seulement annoncés dans Le Pistolero) aux géographies et aux développements différents, mais qui sont en interdépendance. L'intérêt se porte ensuite sur le comportement des humains manipulés par les ordres (Jack est lié à l'ordre de la Lumière), et des correspondances sont établies qui rattachent la quête de Jack aux influences religieuses méthodistes qui ont imprégné King dans son jeune âge

l'auteur : Peter Straub est né à Milwaukee, dans le Wisconsin, le 2 mars 1943. Il est l'aîné d'une fratrie de 3 garçons. Son père était commerçant, sa mère infirmière. Le père voulait qu'il devienne un athlète, la mère un docteur ou un ministre Luthérien. Lui voulait était lire et apprendre, et il leur fit espérer un métier de professeur. Études à l'université de Wisconsin, Colombia University, et au University College de Dublin. A résidé pendant trois ans en Irlande, à Dublin (1969-1972) et sept ans en Angleterre à Londres (1972-1979), puis aux USA dans le Connecticut, où sa femme Susan était née. Il habite aujourd'hui New York (3 enfants). Il a écrit à ce jour 14 romans, 2 recueils de nouvelles, des nouvelles et de la poésie (voir sa bibliographie américaine, et les traductions françaises). Nombreuses récompenses littéraires. En particulier, Mr. X a reçu le Bram Stoker Award. Le plus littéraire des romanciers de terreur attire à la fois les amateurs du fantastique et les inconditionnels du polar.

Voir mes notes de lecture :

Peter Straub . Julia 1975, Seghers 1979, Pocket.

Peter Straub . Ghost story, 1979, Seghers 1979, Pocket.

 Peter Straub . Koko, Laffont 1988, et Pocket. Rééd. Laffont 2001

Peter Straub . . Mystery, Orban, 1991. Pocket.

Peter Straub . . Sans portes ni fenêtres, Olivier Orban, 1992.

Peter Straub . . La Gorge, Plon 1995 Pocket 1996

Peter Straub . . Le Club de l'enfer, Plon éd. 1998.

Peter Straub. . . Mr. X, Plon éd. 2000

Peter Straub. . . Magie de la terreur, 7 nouvelles, Pocket, 2001

 

 

King et Straub à l'époque du Talisman 1

Historique.

(Aug 04) MORE Talisman 2 news! In an email from Straub to Charnel House today, he confirmed that the sequel is nearly 200 pages now. There's still no title (but it definitely will not be Talisman 2), but King and Straub are shooting for a September 2001 release date. Great news!

(Mar 29, 00) Recently, Peter Straub was interviewed by Masters of Terror interviewer Jack Madison Haringa.

JMH: Stepping down from the philosophical plane to the material, we turned our discussion to the solidity of books. One topic in particular has gotten Straub's fans excited, the forthcoming sequel to The Talisman, his 1984 collaboration with Stephen King. While Straub had (fairly) recently said that he and King had moved in different directions to the extent that they would be unlikely to collaborate again, news to the contrary appeared late last year on the internet grapevine. What brought about this change of heart?

PS: "King and I did seem to have taken different directions, and when people asked if we might ever collaborate again, I said that I thought it was extremely unlikely. A couple of things changed my assumptions. In Bag of Bones, King alluded to both Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' which had fed into my own recent work ["Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff"]-that was kind of startling. It indicated that he and I were thinking along parallel lines. Then he let me know that he had been thinking about something I'd said to him years ago, and thought it could be the focus of a sequel to The Talisman. We wrote back and forth and discovered that our initial ideas meshed almost magically. After that, we had no problem deciding to work together again."

 

JMH: And the premise?

PS: "The book will be a sequel, but not a continuation. Jack Sawyer is now thirty-one years old, retired, and living in a farmhouse in western Wisconsin. Darkness falls. That's all I can say."

 

(Jan 27, 00) I got an e-mail from Peter Straub today (that's right! PETER STRAUB!) and he confirmed that he and King are getting ready to begin The Talisman II. To quote: "We agreed to a deal with Random House last November, and since then have been working out some of the basic ideas for the book."

 Une interview de Peter Straub.

Masters Of Terror

Listening to the Invisible World

A Conversation with Peter Straub

by Jack Madison Haringa

 

 

The first time I met Peter Straub, I gushed like a fan-boy.

I'm not proud, but I am honest. I barged into a conversation he was having with poet Linda Addison at a Stoker weekend and told him I was going to gush unadulterated praise for the next five minutes, then leave him alone. To his credit, Straub not only took it with a smile, but actually forgave me enough to chat again during the weekend. I think I still have the swizzle stick from the first drink he bought me.

It was, then, an absolute delight to be able to pick the brain of a writer I admire so much, to ask questions that went deeper into the working of his fiction than ten minutes at a convention can get you. In our conversation, Straub leapt from the practical to the philosophical to the poetic with aplomb, a wry smile peeking around the edges of every answer.

Peter Straub needs little introduction to any audience of fiction readers. As a household name in the horror field, he has become virtually a genre unto himself. He has managed to garner critical acclaim in several genres that traditionally get no respect: in suspense with Koko and The Hellfire Club, in mystery with The Throat, and in horror (the current Rodney Dangerfield of category fiction) with Ghost Story, Floating Dragon, and his most recent novel, Mr. X.

Mr. X is a return to the supernatural horror novel for Straub after the very human terrors of the loosely grouped "Blue Rose Trilogy" and The Hellfire Club's gleefully wicked Dick Dart. The new novel has explicit references to H. P. Lovecraft, a paranormally gifted family at its center, and some of the density of classic gothic fiction. Does Straub consider this a return to his roots?

"A trip back to the old neighborhood? Yes, I guess I do see it that way, although changes in the returnee inevitably altered his vision of the landscape. I certainly wanted to write an unambiguous, or maybe I mean straightforward, horror novel again, in part because I thought it would be pure pleasure to cut loose in that way, also because I wanted to see what would happen. An earlier attempt to write a doppelganger novel had taken a different direction entirely and turned into the book called Mystery, but this time I thought I could pull it off. Mainstream reviewers always began by describing my books as horror anyhow, no matter what they were about, so I was hardly going to startle anybody. And in fact, I had never lost contact with the horror field and continued to think of myself as a horror writer, if an idiosyncratic one, one with no interest in the usual genre-boundaries."

I wondered how he saw the novel differing from his previous work in horror.

"Sixteen years after the deliberate excesses and hi-jinks of Floating Dragon, I saw the admission of supernatural elements into a story less as an invitation to start piling up the colorful outrages than as an opportunity to violate strict realism whenever doing so would be useful or entertaining or suggestive. If the supernatural is let in, the world under consideration does not always obey the laws of physics or honor the restrictions of rational order - the universe has widened out to accommodate mystery, not everything can by known, awe and terror lie close at hand. So I was free to invoke time travel, ESP, telekinesis, teleportation, monstrous infants, the decaying remnants of ancient gods, and the existence of a race descended from those gods."

Straub's characters are often intensely complex and rarely who they seem to be. This reaches its pinnacle with Mr. X, in which there is both the idea of the doppelganger and the narrative doubling of the first person voice, alternating between Ned Dunstan and the eponymous Mr. X.

"The doppelganger, at least as I used the conceit, is a literalization of the protagonist's divided impulses, a kind of metaphor for lost wholeness. His public self, Ned, is kind, rational, well-mannered, civilized, reflective to the point of passivity; his split-off self, Robert, is angry, selfish, criminal, impulsive, childish, wild, cruel. Robert is free to act as Ned cannot dare to act; Ned both pities and envies Robert; Robert despises Ned and covets his more settled position in the world; only Ned can admit the yearning for unity both of them feel.

"With this situation at the center of my story, I soon came to the idea of having two first-person narrators whose voices were completely different but whose lives described a kind of mirror-like counterpoint to one another."

Straub put this in terms of his view on the idea of personality.

"I guess I resist any monolithic, unilateral view of the human personality. Actually, I probably reject the notion of "personality" itself, at least as a unified, intact, consistent and authentic entity. Almost every human being is more complex and conflicted than they seem, made up of multiple desires, impulses and drives, some conscious, some not. The successful neighborhood contractor who dresses up a clown and visits children's wards on the weekends turns out to have a dozen teenagers buried beneath his crawl space; any number of settled, stable, authoritative English politicians have spent their free hours in rooms where they wear diapers and wallow in the abuse delivered by whores in nurses' uniforms; the clerk at the hardware store conceals a streak of vibrant, life-sustaining mysticism; secret lives abound, though in most cases less extravagantly."

There is a second philosophy that exists as an undercurrent to Mr. X, and to many of Straub's other novels: the idea of the hidden or invisible world. In Mystery, the author mentions a world of perfect clarity beneath this one; in The Throat it is a sound under the earth like giant machinery when everything else has gone quiet. I asked him what he believed this machinery was, and whether he saw the world in this bifurcated fashion.

"The sound from the depths of the earth can be heard only by people like Scoot, Ratman, and their compatriots of the Body Squad [in The Throat], who have been transformed by prolonged exposure to extremities of fear and violence and therefore perceive ordinary reality in an unconventional and heightened way impossible to attain by those who have not had the privilege of such exposure. The machinery is that of a great constant attentiveness. If you can hear it, it hears you. A kind of instinctive Platonism lies behind this image.

"In The Throat, a professor of Religion named Alan Brookner simultaneously acknowledges and dismisses unverifiable metaphysical systems by saying '[T]here is another world, and it's this world.' That is, the true nature of things is located within the things themselves, not in some invisible superior realm. What we see are shadows of essential Being, but we see shadows because we see imperfectly. At those times when,

through one mechanism or another, our lenses are washed clean, we discover what has been before us all along, a world in which every detail, every particle overflows with Being. Garden hoses, new-mown lawns, kitchen knives, toasters, sand dunes, oak trees, beetles, tiger lilies, the mailman's cart - everything the eye takes in, animate and inanimate alike, brims with living essence, meaning, profound significance. For a moment, maybe for as long as ten or fifteen minutes, you are looking at reality, and you know it. Its beauty is overwhelming, all but unbearable.

You seem to be floating an inch or two above the ground, blazing. Then it's over, everything has returned to its normal state, and the garden hoses and tiger lilies are again just hoses and weeds.

"The chapter on Mysticism in William James's Varieties of Religious Experience describes several first-hand experiences of precisely this kind. Because James's subjects were all believing Christians, they immediately framed their experiences in religious terms. One can't blame them for responding in this way, for they had apprehended the sacred. However, the sacred has no necessary connection to the Christian narrative of redemption and salvation. Nor does the "mystical" experience. Certain great painters have represented the facts of the case by the simplest and most unmediated of methods, still lifes and landscapes. Look at the undersides of wind-blown leaves in Corot, shimmering gray-green amidst darker green above a pond where cows graze; above all, look at Cézanne's still life paintings of bowls of apples and coffee cups arrayed on a table-top. These mundane objects burn off the surface of the canvas, they are irradiated with Being, the sacred speaks through them. And if you want to know how it felt to be an extraordinarily receptive and responsive viewer who was standing in front of these paintings when they were first exhibited as a group, take a look at the letters Rilke wrote stunned and reeling to his wife, collected as On Cézanne."

But Straub's sense of this mystical, "more real" reality is not limited to the abstract.

"My own experiences of this kind, granted repeatedly during childhood, then forgotten and withheld for decades, then delivered to their grateful recipient at a rate of one every fifteen to twenty years, inform, I suppose, everything I've written. Certain paragraphs in Koko, Mystery, The Throat and the story "The Buffalo Hunter" refer to them directly. The novella called "Hunger: An Introduction" takes this experience as its central concern. My character is suddenly blessed with an apprehension of another world, the real world, and it is this one."

Stepping down from the philosophical plane to the material, we turned our discussion to the solidity of books. One topic in particular has gotten Straub's fans excited, the forthcoming sequel to The Talisman, his 1984 collaboration with Stephen King. While Straub had (fairly) recently said that he and King had moved in different directions to the extent that they would be unlikely to collaborate again, news to the contrary appeared late last year on the internet grapevine. What brought about this change of heart?

"King and I did seem to have taken different directions, and when people asked if we might ever collaborate again, I said that I thought it was extremely unlikely. A couple of things changed my assumptions. In Bag of Bones, King alluded to both Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' which had fed into my own recent work ["Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff"]-that was kind of startling. It indicated that he and I were thinking along parallel lines. Then he let me know that he had been thinking about something I'd said to him years ago, and thought it could be the focus of a sequel to The Talisman. We wrote back and forth and discovered that our initial ideas meshed almost magically. After that, we had no problem deciding to work together again."

And the premise?

"The book will be a sequel, but not a continuation. Jack Sawyer is now thirty-one years old, retired, and living in a farmhouse in western Wisconsin. Darkness falls. That's all I can say."

This will make two supernatural horror novels in a row for Straub, despite mainstream publishers' aversion to the h-word. A collection of short fiction, Magic Terror, is due from Random House this summer and contains at least a few stories firmly in the horror tradition. As a former trustee of the Horror Writers' Association, however, he expressed himself volubly on horror's demise.

"Horror, the living corpse; horror, the uninvited guest peering through the window; horror, the patient in the ICU. Doctors scratch their heads and move in the direction of more promising cases, like that twenty-five-year-old beauty in cubicle 5 - man, talk about your full-bleed, color jacket photos, this kid's a natural! - who has written a memoir in the form of a novel, or maybe it was a novel in form of a memoir, about, what was it again, getting off drugs and making it big in the high-pressure world of fashion industry gossip, or getting into drugs and sleeping with about a million no-good guys while making it big in the movie business?, well, one of those anyhow, who cares, we can get her on Letterman for sure.

"I'm very much of two minds about this. The world of publishing, our context, has changed almost beyond recognition since I first knocked on the door. Everything is harder, colder, crueler, much less literary. The kind of writers now referred to as 'mid-list,' formerly the backbone of the industry and supported through book after book, scuffle to get published at all, while editors desperate to keep their jobs chase after famous athletes, movie stars, dimwits in popular television programs, celebrity defendants and their legal representatives, plus people like that little darling in cubicle 5, who come armed with photogenic mugs, sensational undemanding products, and no track record. By and large, it isn't about writing any more, it's about marketing-just look at the New York Times.

"On the other hand, horror in general, 'horror,' has been chewing its own legs off for years. It's kind of stupefying. I'm stupefied, anyhow. It ought to be transparently clear that horror fiction finds its validity in the expression of originality and powerful emotion, in its readiness for risk, transgression, and honesty, and in its narrative pressure. Horror is supposed to be urgent, involving, suggestive; it's supposed to give you what you can't get anywhere else, a representation of what is otherwise repressed or denied. My stupefaction resulted from the discovery that many, many otherwise hard-working writers reflexively assumed themselves worthy of recognition on the basis of formulaic, basically thoughtless work, simply because what they wrote was horror. This point of view numbs and depresses me - it places us in the third grade, in a cultish never-never land utterly unconnected to the larger, wider world.

"Good writers will always come along and find their way: witness Mike Marano and Graham Joyce."

This comment brought us 'round to the subject of reading in general. "What," I asked, "does Peter Straub read?"

"The person known as Peter Straub falls into the wider category of persons who, when closely observed, tend to be seen carrying books in their hands no matter where they are, inside their living quarters or outside, wandering around through the traffic. When asked what they read, persons of this type respond with either, 'What you got?' or 'I'm an omnivore.' As an omnivore, I read everything that attracts my attention.

"Here's a partial list of what I have read or been reading over the last six months: recent biographies of Ross Macdonald, Malcolm Lowry, and Wallace Stegner; a book about the Partisan Review circle; new books of poetry by John Ashbery, Bruce Andrews and Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge; new crime novels by Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman, Ed McBain, Elizabeth George and some others; Simon Schama's book about Rembrandt; a book about Nabokov's Pale Fire by Brian Boyd; Henry James's letters; a collection of essays about movie actors edited by Luc Sante; a book about Albert Fish; two unclassifiabilities by Neil Gaiman; two, maybe even three, new Stephen Kings; at least half a dozen novels that vanished from memory as soon as I finished them; an extremely interesting book called Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, by the great Biblical scholar Paula Fredericksen; and a lot of other stuff as welI noted mention of King and Gaiman in there, but wondered what other horror writers interested him.

"I'm not as in touch as I should be with the work of newer horror writers, in part because too much work that didn't really appeal to me came out after the mid-eighties, and I couldn't keep up with it all. Some of the new arrivals were operating far out of the field of my concerns and interests, at least from what I gathered by reading reviews and hearing people talk about them, so I wished them well and gave them a pass.

"Apart from Marano and Joyce, whose writing impressed me immediately, I like Douglas Clegg, a very talented writer who understands exactly what he is doing, and the short story writer Kelly Link, who might be the most promising writer to come along in years."

In other interviews, Straub has said that he read voraciously as a child, and the habit seems to have stayed with him. H. P. Lovecraft was clearly an influence on Mr. X and Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye is acknowledged in The Throat, but what other writers have influenced Straub, either stylistically or thematically?

"I've been influenced by so many people that it's hard to pin them all down. Ross Macdonald, Faulkner, Ford Madox Ford, Iris Murdoch and Henry James connected to the themes that most spoke to me; Nabokov, Chandler, James, E. B. White, Joseph Mitchell, John Updike, all affected my style, as did John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany. A great novel by the vastly undercelebrated Donald Harington called Some Other Place. The Right Place. had an enormous impact on me, as did a couple of his other books."

Hackneyed as it may be, I asked my very patient guest to finish up with some advice for the aspiring writer. Despite the fact that he must get asked this question at least a dozen times a year, he didn't offer a pat answer.

"It's hard to know what to say - I used to be 'an aspiring writer,' a position I remember very vividly, and part of my awkwardness is the absolute awareness that I would have dismissed or ignored most of the advice dispensed by an old bluffer like the present me. How could guys like that have anything to tell me, I thought, they've already got it made, they're sitting pretty. What went through my mind as I watched them perform was How did they manage to get that way, anyhow? That was the real mystery, how these middle-aged-to-elderly writers had negotiated the transition from ambitious youth and rejected manuscripts to achievement and recognition. Like all infant writers, I wanted to skip over the middle passage and proceed directly to recognition and a living wage.

"The conventional advice given to beginning writers and people who think they want to be writers consists of variations on the theme, Keep writing. A slightly more advanced form of this recommendation is, Keep writing no matter what anyone says to you or how much discouragement you get. It's great advice, even though someone who really is going to get there doesn't need it, but I've never heard anyone say, You have to write and write and write, you have to keep on writing, in order to make all the mistakes you can and create about a ton of garbage before you can even begin to discover what you're good at.

Impatience and arrogance must be burned away through the exercise of unremitting, selfless labor. No one wants to hear it, but that's the deal, that's how it works. You have to write your mountain of failed gestures and weak imitations of other writers' effects, endure uncertainty and despair, and be stubborn enough to keep going until finally something emerges that contains a sliver of your own voice. After that, things do not get much better, for one has now entered the painful mystery known as 'process,' ha, I love hearing people croon about 'process,' but they get a little better, at least, as the ongoing struggle takes on more interesting, more fulfilling dimensions. After all, this job was never supposed to be easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it."

The author : While unused to speaking about himself in the third person, Jack Madison Haringa didn't feel comfortable asking anyone else to list his qualifictions. He is pursuing his Master of Arts in English Literature at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where he lives with his wife. He is a member of the Horror Writers' Association, the HorrorNet Cabal, and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. He has written a great deal of fiction which remains suspiciously unpublished.

Tous mes remerciements à Masters of Terror, http://pluto.spaceports.com/~mot/index.html

 

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