Friday, March 29, 2013

From "Hollywood on the Potomac" (really)



Photo & video credit: Janet Donovan
     “I have a long bio here that I have created which I am not going to read to you,” said Richard Rymland, co-host with wife Catherine Wyler at a book party in their home for Jim Conaway’s   “Nose”: A Novel
     “I have a great affection for his work.  Usually people invite you to a book party so you’ll buy the book.  I feel like Cathy and I invited you here tonight because this book is really fun and a great read, so this is a treat for all of you.  If you don’t buy this book, you’ll be missing a fabulous laugh. 
     In Jim’s earlier books, of which there are many, one sticks in my mind, “Memphis Afternoon,” which was the first time reading a book where I found myself sobbing in my bathroom.” 
     “That is about the best thing you could say about an author,” replied Conaway.
Jim Conaway
     “It’s hard to know what to say about the subject matter of the book. We all think we know what Napa Valley is about and it’s often obnoxious. 
     The two ways of thinking about it is … it’s sort of helpful if you’re going to read my novel to know … one is that Napa and places like it are really big hot tubs stuffed full of naked little Gatsby’s who are all trying to stand up and shake it and be noted.
Photo credit:
     So that’s the first thing to remember.  The antithetical other side of the coin is that Napa Valley is physically one of the most beautiful places on earth if you can somehow push the people aside.  It’s an incredible composite because it’s so small.  It’s two steep mountain ranges and a valley that goes down into San Francisco Bay.  As little as 200 years ago, probably, when a raindrop fell on those mountains which were covered with Red Woods, it took a week for that water to get from there to the earth, so that’s why the place is so rich.  Water ran year round and it was sort of the epitome of what we like to think of when we think of America before the doctrine of Manifest Destiny became the rule by which we live now.
     Those two tensions are there.  That really is the reason for thinking about the place and looking at it.  It’s the (epitome) of the family small farm.  They grow the most valuable legal crop probably in the United States and the world.  What
has come out of that is the essence of the American story, kind of on steroids.  That was the idea behind the book.  I wrote a couple books about Napa Valley, nonfiction books, and I often thought wouldn’t it be nice to write something where you weren’t bound by almighty fact, where you could just sort of let your imagination go and sort of build something out of the stuff you knew.  The weird thing was that what I ended up with was a 300-pound British wine critic who is a bit of a pompous ass that has a great nose.
To order my novel, Nose, click on:  

No comments:

Post a Comment