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Los Angeles! This Thursday, July 17th at 7:30pm, join Believer editor Karolina Waclawiak as she presents the 1945 film I Know Where I’m Going! as part of Clockshop’s My Atlas summer event series. The series “pairs films with live travelogues to explore the varied experiences of women travelers.”
Curated by Believer contributor Sasha Archibald along with Julia Metzler and Courtney Stephens, the series will feature Vanessa Veselka, Andrea Richards, Dolores Dorantes, and more. Check out the full schedule here.Tickets: $10, $7 for students
The outdoor film series will be held at Elysian courtyard at 2806 Clearwater St., Los Angeles, CA 90039 unless otherwise specified.

Los Angeles! This Thursday, July 17th at 7:30pm, join Believer editor Karolina Waclawiak as she presents the 1945 film I Know Where I’m Going! as part of Clockshop’s My Atlas summer event series. The series “pairs films with live travelogues to explore the varied experiences of women travelers.”

Curated by Believer contributor Sasha Archibald along with Julia Metzler and Courtney Stephens, the series will feature Vanessa Veselka, Andrea Richards, Dolores Dorantes, and more. Check out the full schedule here.

Tickets: $10, $7 for students

The outdoor film series will be held at Elysian courtyard at 2806 Clearwater St., Los Angeles, CA 90039 unless otherwise specified.

"Pain can recalibrate your life."

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An Interview with Aaron Gwyn

Aaron Gwyn’s first book, a collection of stories titled Dog on the Cross, was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. His work has appeared in Esquire, McSweeney’s, and Glimmer Train. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

We talked about his latest, Wynne’s War, a contemporary Western, set among an elite American Special Forces unit preparing to stage a secret mission on horseback in eastern Afghanistan.

—Kyle Minor

I. “THE UGLY FACT IS BOOKS ARE MADE OUT OF BOOKS”

KYLE MINOR: Wynne’s War opens with an epigraph from Cormac McCarthy. What kind of relationship have you had with his novels?

AARON GWYN: I’ve noticed that it’s become fashionable for young(er) novelists who’ve clearly been influenced by McCarthy to deny that influence.  I understand: nothing hurts as much as being figured out.  McCarthy himself, in the first interview he gave after the success of All the Pretty Horses, said: “the ugly fact is books are made out of books.”  I agree (though I don’t wouldn’t call that fact ugly.  I’d call it the “Western Literary Tradition.”

I started writing because of Faulkner, but I’ve developed into whatever kind of writer I am because of McCarthy’s western novels: Blood Meridian and The Border Trilogy.  I make no secret of the fact that Blood Meridian is my favorite book, and that it is, in my opinion, the best American novel after Absalom, Absalom and Moby Dick.  Followed very closely by Philipp Meyer’s absolute masterpiece, The Son.  So, I suppose my Top Five Novels would be:

1. Absalom, Absalom
2. Moby Dick
3. Blood Meridian
4. The Son
5. All the Pretty Horses

KM: What other novelists became important to you as you were deciding what kind of writer you wanted to become?

AG: I like Beckett’s novels. The Molloy “trilogy” and How It Is.  I like Ulysses quite a bit. I like that Nabokov guy (Lolita and Pale Fire, especially). I’ve read and reread Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke which is fantastic and contains the best dialogue of any novel I’ve ever read.  I love Gilead.  Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is worth the hype (though it’s not as good as his short stories).  You can read Don DeLillo with a minimum risk of blindness: he writes amazing sentences, and every now and then he’ll make you feel a little something.  Ben Fountain’s debut novel is a knockout.  Ron Hansen is an American master (read Desperadoes and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford STAT).  I love John Williams’s Stoner.  I don’t know why more people aren’t reading James Carlos Blake (start with Wildwood Boys).  I’m a fiend for Roth’s 1990-2001 novels, one hit after another.  Everyone who reads this should go get a copy of Richard Bausch’s novel Peace: it’s a stunning “little” 200-page war novel set in WWII Italy.  It’s a complete gem.

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