Alan’s Interview with Juanita Watson of Reader Views

Posted on 02.03.08 9:10AM under Interviews

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Juanita: You bring into this book glimpses of the historical origins of Miami and the ethnic influence in the politics of this city. Would you elaborate, and did this take any additional research?

Alan: In a way, the ethnic aspect was the easy part, because living in Miami is like taking a lab course in community. Tribal politics is still ascendant here, and the clash of cultures is everywhere, splattered across the local newspapers and television screens. I kept finding the characters going to places that demanded I tell their stories, too. So I did. The internet made it possible to research almost anything on the fly, from the history of the not so escape-proof prison atop the Dade County Courthouse (which offers cold comfort to a claustrophobic reporter trying to get down the stairs when the elevator won’t come), to the smallest details, like what brand of cigarettes Frank Sinatra was bumming for the ride back from the Deauville after card sharps Moe and Izzy Fine cleaned him out one night fifty years ago.

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Juanita: Alan, because this novel is considered satire, would you tell us about the deeper messages you were hoping to convey through this story?

Alan: There’s a persistent subtext about dislocation and trying to fit in, trying to find your place in a new or changing place, particularly for Delia as a Cuban-American who grew up in New Jersey and can’t seem to get both feet down in Miami, even though she’s in the bosom of her family. It’s not easy for Walter, either, as Miami morphs around him into something he barely recognizes. They all have immigrant stories in this new city where even the Native Americans are from somewhere else, but only Delia, and to a lesser extent, Benjy and Raj, are thinking about what it all means.

Read the entire interview at Reader Views

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