Monday, September 3, 2007

Barzak's first novel

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I'm talking with Christopher Barzak, whose first novel One for Sorrow was just released by Bantam Books (the link takes you to a review in the Village Voice). It's a ghost story set in the Mahoning Valley, centered on a 15-year-old working-class boy and his relationship with a classmate who has been murdered, but it's also a story about the relationship between life and death, struggle and hope. Along with taking us inside the mind of a teenage boy who's not sure of his place in the world, Barzak invites us to see our own community in new, sometimes eerie ways. He uses real places -- Dorian Books, the old partially-burned church on Elm Street across from the cathedral, and Youngstown's streets -- but he makes them at once familiar and strange.

In our conversation, Chris talks about how growing up here influenced his writing, the process of writing fantasy fiction, and about how his life as a writer is changing as he's having more success and therefore becoming a more public person. Along with publishing this novel, Chris had another piece -- "The Language of Moths" -- nominated for a Nebula Award in Science Fiction and Fantasy earlier this year. You can find that story and other links to Chris's work on his blog, Meditations in an Emergency. As always, you can listen to the interview at 7:30 Wednesday evening on the air, or hear it online by visiting the WYSU webpage.

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