Powerful and Ominous
Posted by Literary Titan
The Hungry Monster interviews J.R. Hamantaschen, author of With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer. No, he is not a dog. The picture to the left is his childhood Bichon and all-around all-time best-animal buddy.
I have to ask, can you explain the title of your book, With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Growing Ever Louder and Clearer? It’s definitely… interesting.
The line is taken from a letter written by Karl Marx. I don’t even remember who the letter was written to and only hazily remember what the letter was about. I generally read non-fiction, and came across the letter – and the line – in Love and Capital, a biography about Karl Marx’s family life. I just thought the line was powerful and ominous. My first collection, “You Shall Never Know Security,” was from a line in Looking Backward, and the paragraph quoted is used as an epigraph to the collection. I didn’t include an epigraph in the new book because I liked how ominous and disquieting it sounded on its own.
One of my favorite stories in the collection deals with GoodReads and goes beyond the confines of normal GoodReads behavior. What was your favorite story in the collection?
My personal favorite story in the collection is the first, titled “Vernichtungsschmerz,” which roughly translates to “the fear of annihilation” in German. People always talk about whether life is worth living, and I always felt that was something of a silly question, since to answer that honestly and accurately, one would have to know what it was like to die, which no one obviously really does. I just think that story came out well. I’m fond of the story you mentioned, to, which is my take on the slasher tale. I always found it interesting how people would readily give me their addresses without knowing anything about me, in hopes I would send them a free book. That’s where that story came from.
Your book is a collection of short stories. Did you know that you would one day combine the stories into a book, or did you write all the stories for different reasons?
Well, both, I suppose. I wrote these stories for different reasons but focused on certain stories at certain times with an eye toward a collection. Two of the stories that had been previously published and bore no relation to one another were eventually slightly re-written to link up. I knew what tones I wanted, what beats to hit, so to speak, and the sequencing of the collection is quite intentional and deliberate. I even mention that in the introduction. I know people like jumping around, usually reading the shortest stories first, but I hope readers will read them in order. Of course, I have no control over that.
You Shall Never Know Security
For years, J.R.’s stories have been acclaimed throughout the independent horror world. These are stories that challenge expectations and reject the staid conventions of the genre. These are stories that don’t compromise. Above all, what readers understood and appreciated was that these stories were about something. These are stories that, in the finest tradition of H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Dennis Etchison, and T.E.D. Klein, articulate what you’ve always suspected: that life is a losing proposition. For the first time, after much demand, J.R.’s surviving stories have been collected in one anthology.
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is a book review website which consists of mostly fiction books, but we do enjoy non fiction works that we're excited about. All reviews are the reviewer’s honest opinion. We love books and read constantly (seriously, it’s an addiction). We're always open to book review requests and have aspirations of one day being sucked into the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where all he wants to do is read, but can’t until the world ends; you know what I mean?
Posted on November 9, 2015, in Interviews and tagged author, books, ebooks, fiction, horror, interview, jr hamantaschen, reading, short stories, With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Growing Ever Louder and Clearer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.