Newspaper article International New York Times

A Conversation with Dean Koontz

Newspaper article International New York Times

A Conversation with Dean Koontz

Article excerpt

The author, most recently, of "The City" is a fan of Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy: "Both offer voluptuous yet highly controlled language and profound moral purpose."

Dean Koontz

The author, most recently, of "The City" is a fan of Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy: "Both offer voluptuous yet highly controlled language and profound moral purpose."

Q. What books are currently on your night stand?

A.After a long day, I'm especially charmed by the lyrical expressions and well-wrought cadences of poetry -- currently, "The Wild Iris" and "Ararat," by Louise Gluck, and "New & Selected Poems," by Donald Justice, all of which I've read many times. I'm also reading the complete poems of Elizabeth Bishop, whose life's work shouldn't be new to me but is.

Q. Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today?

I'm moved by Charles Dickens's humanity, by the way he conveys the epic nature of every life, even with the minor characters, by his gorgeous descriptions, by his awareness that what seems ordinary is in fact extraordinary. He knew that sentiment isn't sentimentality, a truth that I wish more novelists would embrace in our cynical time. Also John D. MacDonald's books, those that don't feature Travis McGee, captivate me for similar reasons. Of current authors, I very much like Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy. Though they are quite different writers, both offer voluptuous yet highly controlled language and profound moral purpose.

Q. Your own fiction has crossed genres between horror, science fiction, thriller and mystery. Which is your favorite genre to write in? And to read?

I also write love stories, comic novels, stories with a spiritual edge, but I've never felt that I write in any genre. It's been said that I invented the cross-genre novel, but that's not correct. I write mainstream fiction into which I import elements of various genres. I'm only doing what all writers felt free to do before the paperback revolution, before publishers aggressively Balkanized fiction into genres for marketing purposes. We forget that Mark Twain wrote a time-travel story, that John P. Marquand won a Pulitzer for "The Late George Apley" but also wrote Mr. …

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