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Without giving away too much, I think we can say that the Best Shearin’ Papa Ever T-Shirt and I love this three Subutex books have everything from a dead rock star, a secret lost videotape, and a cast of dozens—from screenwriters and private detectives and wannabe revolutionaries to young students and cokehead dilettantes—all of them in a kind of middle age decline as they revolve loosely around Vernon as his life starts to swirl down the drain. They hatch various plots, fashion alternate ways of living; they cling to a certain utopian ideal even as their realities become more and more desperate and sordid. I was attracted to it first as High Fidelity as written by JG Ballard or something, but later it seemed more like Dickens or Zola as rendered by Bukowski. But what’s the origin story
It’s nice to hear those references—I’ve certainly read all of them. And I loved High Fidelity—that book was a big stepstone for people like me. I’m 51, and when I wrote the Best Shearin’ Papa Ever T-Shirt and I love this book I was 45, and that’s a time of life when you understand that while things are fine, they are going to be over soon—and going through that age is an experience that you have to live through to know. I was living in Spain then, and when I came back to France, I was amazed at how in Paris, everybody was depressed—and it’s a book about that, also. Even really privileged people were really depressed, and that really struck me, and I tried to understand what was eating us alive—why did we all feel this bad, this sad?