Novelist Jeff Rotter Discusses His Comelling New Book The Unknown Knowns
My Life in 8 Words
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. I'm presently accepting submissions.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. A two-bedroom apartment, my wife and kid. I’m starting on the next novel and the next one and the next one.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I’m interested in attaining powers that, while not qualifying as “super,” are arguably “exceptional.” For instance: partial invisibility, the ability to shrink to three-quarters my normal size, or the dragonlike capacity for breathing fire, but only through my nose, and only enough to light a cigarette.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. That pure sine wave that sounds like any song you can think of, whatever that's called. Also, I like the Kinks.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. That nutrient powder that tastes like anything you can think of, whatever that's called.
June 21, 2010When my friend, the very funny writer Jason Porter, asked me if I like sandwiches, I had to say yes. Sure, I like them. When he asked me if I like to talk about writing, I had to answer no, not really. He said, “Me, either.” So we agreed to talk about writing for a little while and then get a sandwich. But then we ended up talking mostly about sandwiches. And Martin Amis’s underpants. The result is an interview for the terrific new lit magazine Tottenville Review.
March 23, 2009The zeitgeist has been gorging itself on chicken nuggets these days. And I’m doing my humble part to keep the breaded chunks of flaky white meat under the warming red lights of the cultural buffet. The main character in my book, The Unknown Knowns, has an epiphanic scene with chicken nuggets at an old waterpark in Colorado. So when we were planning a book party, nuggets had to be on the menu. I posted this request on FaceBook and got plenty of nugget suggestions. But I got something more edifying: a rare glimpse inside the arcane world of the stroller set. And a love story.
“Jeffrey is taking... see more
January 30, 2009The Doberman The links between vanity and cruelty are not secret. We all know about Chinese foot-binding. And I suspect those places advertising 100 percent human-hair extensions get their stuff from Third World hair farms. But recently I had a rare opportunity to see vanity and cruelty side by side in one elegant and ugly tableau.
One bitter January morning I was on my way to work, dressed in a heavy down coat and fingerless gloves. I was thinking about how fingerless gloves would be perfectly adequate if only I had no fingers, when I almost stepped in a pile of bloody gauze. I would describe my state of mind as perilously psyched. I’d... see more