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When you follow a mystery, you see that's it's unending. And what better explorer of mysteries than acclaimed mystery writer Sara Gran, whose mystery and crime books rove through philosophy, the occult, and the hardboiled on their way to the murderer.
Sara is the author of mysteries and horror, from her acclaimed Claire DeWitt series (start with the excellent Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead), to her shiveringly creepy demonic possession tale, Come Closer.
We talk about why detectives in fiction are always wounded, how criminals are materialists but detectives are spiritual, being an outsider, the philosopher she invented named Jacques Silette, the unknowingness of writing, how our creative projects becomes spells & become our friends, whether or not people actually succeed in Hollywood, the difference between real genre and mere spectacle, fairy tales, why political solutions don't work, why the presence of the dead is healing, why people can't accept the supernatural even in fiction, Suspiria vs Texas Chainsaw Massacre vs Hereditary, Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, how art responds to and creates evil, and how psychoanalysis connects to the Western esoteric tradition and yoga.
• Probably the most famous Raymond Chandler novel is The Big Sleep, featuring his detective, Philip Marlowe. I have yet to read any Chandler, but I trust Sara's taste completely.
• Have you seen Neon Demon?
• Sara and I met through our amazing friend; musician, composer, and author, Nathan Larson. You can find all of his books here.
• Want to get to know Gurdjieff?
• "A vampire is a theory," is something I said on AEWCH 44 with Kelly Link and Jordy Rosenberg. The two of them exploring genre is pretty awesome.
• You should get and read Grant Morrison's Sea Guy, immediately.
• Sara told me years ago to read the book The Unsayable: The Hidden Language of Trauma by Annie Rogers. It's an amazing exploration of Lacanian psychoanalysis through the story of a case study.
• My favorite first page in all fiction is the first page of Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, which is a terrifyingly precise novel.
And the first line? "What makes Iago evil? Some people ask. I never ask."
• I would love to find more info on the stuff that Sara talks about at the end with yoga, so please feel free to comment on it below if you know a bit about it!
Until next time,
Oh, and here's Sara casting spell.