Surreal for real!

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I’m blessed in that I never have much of a commute. And I haven’t for years. Consequently, I don’t listen to books on tape. (Also, I listen to the awesome local NPR affiliate, OPB, and almost inevitably hear one good story my newsroom team should pick up on.)

So it was a unique joy this month to drive to bookstore events in Cannon Beach, Oregon, one weekend, and to Sunriver, Oregon, the next, and to listen to the audio version of “St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking.”

Observation 1:

Narrator Victor Bevine is pitch perfect. Not a note wasted. He’s absolutely amazing. I wrote the damn story, and his narration still pulled me into the story! (Hand to god: I got to the part where the partners tell one long-suffering character that he’s managed to save another, and I got a little emotional. Then, laughing, thought, “You wrote that scene, ya schmuck! You knew how it ended!”)

Great job, Victor. Come what may (note to Blackstone) you’d be my choice for any future book.

Observation 2:

Wow, it is so, so weird to hear the words you thought up read aloud by another human being. Do other novelists experience this? Victor is so good that he kept me tucked into the narrative, and it was like experiencing the story that was born in my brain from a slightly altered perspective.

I heard some mistakes. Stutters, clunkers, a few artless bridges between images or plot points. (Victor: The fault lies in the narrative, not the narrator.) I also reminded myself of some important character bits that I’d forgotten about. When the times comes for the next draft of the sequel, I’m going to have to sprinkle these in.

Observation 3:

I hesitate to write this because I sound like a massive dork, but … this is a good story. These are good characters. Listening to “St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking” was fun.

And “fun” was the goal, pure and simple. I’m not a literary writer. I’m an escapist writer. I’m a genre grinder.

Forgive me for saying it but — I think I nailed it.

Dana Haynes