I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the outstanding book, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.
This post modern love story is a novel after my own heart….in a word, superb! It’s got everything that I love in a book: a couple that should never have gotten together but can’t seem to stay away from each other, unreliable narrators, complex and dark characters, exotic locations, and really tell who doesn’t love a story where someone fakes their own death.
I was thrilled when Ron Currie, Jr. agreed to do an interview with me as well, so without further ado please welcome Ron Currie, Jr. to The Lit Bitch!
The Lit Bitch: I understand that Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is based on some personal experiences, can you discuss that a little bit? How much of Ron the author’s life figures into the overall story? How much is Ron the character is like Ron the author?
RCJ: Quite a lot. It’s not an accident that I gave the character my name. I like to say that the Ron in the book is me with the volume turned up, basically–which is an interesting way to dramatize and dissect your own tendencies, especially the ones that are embarrassing or that you otherwise don’t like so much. I’m interested in the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden, because revealing them can inspire a very strong empathetic response in people when they recognize their own private embarrassments and weaknesses in another.
The Lit Bitch: At what point did you decide you wanted to write a novel that was so personal? What was that moment like for you? Difficult? A relief? Therapeutic?
RCJ: This is where I would write LOL, if I were given to using internet acronyms. No, not therapeutic at all. Interesting, certainly, and enlightening, in the same way that writing down one’s thoughts in a journal can be enlightening. When you see it on the page you get a different perspective than when it’s all just bopping around in your head. There’s a clarity that descends, if you’re lucky.
The Lit Bitch: What do you think is Ron’s most redeeming quality? What about for Emma?
RCJ: Good question. Not sure about Ron…I think he’s got a big and sincere heart, but he’s so tangled up in himself that that often gets obscured. Emma is easier–despite her flaws, she has more integrity than anyone else you or I know. Guaranteed.
The Lit Bitch: I really enjoyed the concept of Singularity not just as a reality in the book, but also as an abstract metaphor. Can you discuss the significance of this idea and the role it plays in the novel? In essence, what does it mean to you and what does it mean to the characters?
RCJ: Well, to me it’s a fascinating concept, and one that I’m more or less convinced will someday come to pass. To Ron the character–and he states this outright, toward the end of the book–it functions more as a stand-in for the Judeo-Christian promise of salvation, which he’s long since come to believe is a lie.
The Lit Bitch: I was moved by the way Ron the character loved Emma. It’s not often that men express their romantic feelings so openly. How much of that is Ron the character and how much is Ron the author? Do you find it easy to express your romantic feelings the same way that Ron the character does?
RCJ: Not usually. He’s my emotional surrogate, in that way.
The Lit Bitch: I love post modern lit– the style and use of fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, and unique narration styles, all of it. I love how you used the stream of consciousness narration style, it helped me connect to Ron the character in a very intimate way. Discuss your use of post modernism narration styles and tools in Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles and its characters.
RCJ: I’ve never set fingers to keyboard with the conscious intent of being postmodern, “experimental,” avant-garde, etc. It’s not nearly that deliberate. In this instance the style and structure of the book grew out of the emotional urgency of the story. Style follows substance, for me.
The Lit Bitch: What made you choose Egypt as one of the exotic locations in Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles? It clearly had some religious symbolism attached to it being a spiritual journey for Ron the character but why there in particular? What about the other exotic locations? Why did you choose them? Did they have some significance to you as an author? Have you visited them?
RCJ: Believe it or not, the fact of the Sinai being holy land was incidental. What I wanted was the landscape itself, which is among the most desolate places I’ve ever seen–especially the interior, away from the Red Sea coast. The Caribbean island where Ron spends a good deal of time in the first half of the book is based in large part on a very small island where I’ve passed the winters for four years now.
The Lit Bitch: Who is your all time literary crush?
RCJ: Sylvia Plath. There’s a picture of her that I first saw a long time ago in which she looks so lovely and so sad. It’s subtly heartbreaking, especially if you know her story, but also quite alluring.
The Lit Bitch: Do you like to write any other genres? Of those other genres which one is your fav to write?
RCJ: Porn. Just kidding. I actually haven’t written any genre-specific stuff in a long time, but when I was a kid I wrote a lot of fantasy and sic-fi stories.
The Lit Bitch: What are your plans for your next project? What are you currently working on?
RCJ: Way too early to talk about without jinxing it.
About the Author
Ron Currie, Jr. was born and raised in Waterville, Maine, where he still lives. His first book, God is Dead, won the Young Lions Fiction Award from the New York Public Library and the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His debut novel, Everything Matters!, will be translated into a dozen languages, and is a July Indie Next Pick and Amazon Best of June 2009 selection.
His short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Sun, Ninth Letter, Swink, The Southeast Review, Glimmer Train, Willow Springs, The Cincinnati Review,Harpur Palate, and New Sudden Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2007). (from Goodreads).