CB: Yeah. Sure it does. I can’t tell you how weird it is. But reviewers need some kind of pigeonhole, and they need to simplify everything. I mean, I’m a reviewer, so I should know.
SL: I guess I did enjoy thinking about the idea of a “Midwest writer in a postmodern age” because I happen to really enjoy postmodern writers — there’s another category with ill-defined boundaries.
SL: But I noticed that you use certain techniques that are often considered postmodern, like self-awareness in the text, for instance — in The Feast of Love, your character “Charlie Baxter,” and in The Soul Thief, the narrator putting himself into the story as a third person character and then coming back out.
SL: I’m wondering what these techniques do? Why do you use them?
CB: I had to. It was through a kind of operational necessity. In The Feast of Love, what I wanted was a book that had the sound of people talking, like a play. And I couldn’t figure out how to do that, how to get people speaking aloud unless they were speaking to somebody. It was experimental but at the same time it wasn’t. It’s like The Decameron. But I needed somebody for these people to talk to. And I thought, well, it might as well be myself, or a version of myself. I’ll put a version of Charlie in there and set myself up as a writer with writer’s block, and they’re all talking to me. And that solved that problem.