Alumni Adventures II: An interview with Daniel Handler ’92

You probably didn’t notice, but just hours ago one of our trained bonobo typists churned out a piece about Amanda Palmer’s current project. In a completely separate Internet adventure, I stumbled upon a December interview with Daniel Handler ’92, another ’90s alum who’s involved in a musical project you’ve likely heard [about] and bears a well-documented fondness for dark humor.

Check out the interview at the well-named Fictionaut Blog, where the Reigning World Champion of Literary Handleage gives short and sweet responses to six questions spanning his current work, the creative process, and why he derives a different kind of pleasure from playing the accordion than writing prose. Here’s a brief snippet on why he thinks the idea of a likeable character is rather silly:

… character is bunk. There is plot, and there is voice, and they conspire to create an illusion we call “literature.” It is a glorious illusion and a compelling one. When a writer tells me they’re worried about a character they usually mean there’s a flaw in the plot, or the prose just isn’t pulling things together.

For more on the writer, the musician (he’s recorded with The Magnetic Fields), and the legend, might I recommend the following:

Shameful secrets time: I haven’t read more than a few paragraphs of anything Daniel Snicket has written, nor have I knowingly listened to The Magnetic Fields (too mainstream). But I am now quite interested in possibly reading Adverbs or The Basic Eight — probably the latter first, entirely thanks to Wikipedia listing its genres as “Fiction, Satire, Black Comedy”.

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