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On the face of it, a gothic western, influenced equally by Sergio Leone and Samuel Beckett, seems an unlikely candidate for a Booker Prize nomination. Patrick deWitt explains how he went about creating a minor modern masterpiece.
Roisin Dwyer, 31 Aug 2012
DeWitt has been compared to Charles Bukowski, particularly for Ablutions. The author himself has resisted these associations, describing the latter’s writing as inherently masculine and his own as sexless.
“I don’t feel any aesthetic kinship with most of the authors that people think I do,” he counters. “I think being compared to other writers is just something that people do in order to get a dialogue started or just to generally reference what you’re dealing with. I don’t think it’s unfair or overtly incorrect to compare Ablutions to Charles Bukowski because it is a story about alcoholism and Hollywood, so there is going to be some overlap, but he was someone that was never in my mind in writing that book.
“In terms of gender,” he adds, “generally speaking I am not a macho guy and my sympathies don’t really lie with any one group. That’s what I mean when I say sexless. I prefer the company of women to men socially, and I always have: I’ve never been a guy’s guy. I also think I bristled against the Bukowski comparison as I don’t want to be one of those authors that have a really intense male readership and women won’t want to read my work. The idea of women not reading my books is horrific to me so I try to avoid that. I would hope that anyone can read my work and not feel alienated.”
I suspect the million-plus readers who bought the book would heartily concur.
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