Over several emails, a Skylight reading, and a follow-up conversation at The Dresden, I had a chance to break every single rule of proper interviewing etiquette with Nam Le: I selfishly asked him the questions that most interested me. Period. I've never really done that, at least not so overtly, and I felt kind of weird about it, especially because I was asking questions that I knew were related to my very specific reading experience - one that few, if any, readers would have had. But you see, that is precisely why I had to ask them: I knew no one else would. Yet, I fear LAist readers will be annoyed.
Everyone I spoke to about my reading experience and about the lack of a clear "stories" distinction on the cover thought I was nutso. Completely batty. Bizarre for getting all meta and thinking about the short story designation and how it maybe short-shrifts the reading experience and how the form can be played with, how certain novelistic techniques can be employed in stories (especially those without a story designation...to toy with us!) in a way that extends what a story is and changes what a novel is...so that all the lines are blurred a bit. This is the essence of Nam Le's work - this playing with convention and breaking rules and following form and then not again - and I was compelled to ask about it. Then lo and behold, Antoine Wilson backs me up, unknowingly, and I feel somehow vindicated. Less crazy.
So - this is not a straightforward interview. It is messy and meta. It is short and long. If I were to go sub-meta, I'd even say that breaking every "proper" interviewing rule is perfectly apropos when talking about Nam Le's work. Or is that just pushing the whole metaphor too far? Either way, do check it out. Le was delightful (far more approachable, more friendly, even...dare I say it?...more smile-y than his official author photo would have you believe) and I very much look forward to catching up with him again soon. And if you've not read The Boat...what is wrong with you? Make it happen so we can discuss.