Introducing Short Story Writer – Jim Gavin, Author of 'Middle Men'
Introducing Short Story Writer – Jim Gavin, Author of Middle Men
Coming in February 2013
November 19, 2012: A few weeks ago, Sona and I went out for date night and went to the place nerds go to be romantic: the bookshop. Typically, we hold hands and look dreamily in each other’s eyes as we walk through the doors, then almost immediately mad dash it in opposite directions; Sona grabs a stack of writing magazines and the latest Young Adult novel, while I head straight for adult fiction. Eventually, we find each other again and sit across from each other at a table, occasionally lifting our heads up to talk to each other as we sip on coffee and carefully maneuver the pastry, fork, and the stacks of books and magazines we’ve piled up. And to us, it is incredibly exciting and romantic. And our daughter loves going to various bookshops in the City too. There are a couple joints in New York City we really love, especially the Strand Bookstore, McNally Jackson, and Books of Wonder, which are all kickass bookstores with great readings and the latter two also have some wonderful storytime readings for Kavya, our two-year-old daughter. Well, not specifically just for her, but kids in her age range. Anyway, the last time me and Sona went on our incredibly romantic date, I read three of my go-to literary magazines: Granta, The Paris Review, and the New Yorker. And then returned to the magazine rack, before going to the fiction section, when a magazine fell from the sky. That’s exactly how it happened. It was the quarterly, Zoetrope, created by Francis Ford Coppola, where they only publish short fiction and one act plays. You would think that this would be the highlight of the date, but it got even better. One of the stories in the Fall 2012 issue of Zoetrope (it’s a quarterly) was by Jim Gavin called “Bermuda,” a really funny and utterly depressing story. I loved the voice, which I’m a big sucker for. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it does just that because although it’s a very SoCal story, there is a character with a bandage around his head who needs to get to my hometown of Fresno! Without giving the story away, here’s some lines I jotted down:
“She’d always felt uncomfortable in bars, the expression on her face too hostile to attract friendly people, but not hostile enough, apparently, to repel lunatics. Soon after arriving, she’d gone alone to a show at Al’s Bar. Before the first band went on, a man with an Ace bandage wrapped around his head asked if she could drive him to Fresno. “ASAP,” he’d said, tapping her shoulder.”
And some genuine moments of closeness:
“You’re the only thing I’m good at,” I said. I waited for her to laugh; instead, she curled her fingers into mine.”
You can also check out an excerpt of "Bermuda here. When I got home, I started googling Jim Gavin and found that it’s apparently a fairly common name. There’s one Jim Gavin who writes pulp fiction, and another who writes celebrity biographies. The one I was looking for was a plumbing salesman, who made his debut in the New Yorker with “Costello,” in 2010 and had his uncompleted short story collection bought by Simon and Schuster, which is coming out in February 2013. Many have probably already read the interview with Deborah Treisman, editor of the New Yorker, but here it is anyway: New Yorker Interview with Jim Gavin. On a side note, I met Deborah Treisman briefly at McNally Jackson at a great panel called “Beyond The Slushpile”and thought she was great. Last year, she taught the fiction workshop at the CUNY Writing Institute and wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought she would be.
I thought it was a good interview, but the interview I found much more interesting was the one he did for UCLA Extension, where he studied fiction: Interview at UCLA. I loved how down to earth he is and that he put in a lot of work to be where he is, even though he does call getting published, “a lucky break.” I encourage everyone to stop dawdling about and go pick up the Fall 2012 issue of Zoetrope, Volume 16, just so you can read Jim Gavin . And no, I’m not receiving a cut from Zoetrope or from Jim Gavin, although that would be the moral thing for both of them to do. His short story collection, Middle Men, comes out February 2013 and costs just $13 or so for a hardcover. I haven’t read it yet, but if the stories are anything like the two I’ve already read, I am super excited about it. Pre-order it on Amazon.