Michael Zadoorian, author of The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit (May 18-29)
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If anyone has any questions, please feel free to send them my way. I'll check in every day and try to answer in a timely manner. By the way, if anyone has any questions about my first novel, SECOND HAND, that's fine too.
Thanks for your kind words about THE LEISURE SEEKER. And thanks for spreading the word about it.
As for the next book, it's anyone's guess. I'd love to get something out there in the next couple of years, but who knows? That's how I felt in 2000, right after SECOND HAND was published. Turns out that I didn't get another book out until January 2009. Then another one (my story collection THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT) three months later in April 2009. It's not exactly how I would have planned for things to happen, but I guess you have to take it when you can get it.
I can tell you that the book I'm working on now is does indeed take place in Detroit. That's about all I can say at the moment. I guess I'm superstitious.
Thanks for your interest.
The narrative seemed so real that I had to wonder if you have personal experience dealing with someone suffering from Alzheimers? The characters just seemed so true and the situation so heartbreaking...
The Leisure Seeker was definitely one of the best books I've read in the last few months, and I believe is one that will stand the test of time. I've certainly been recommending it to friends!
Nice to hear from you again. Thanks to you as well for your kind comments about the book. I really appreciate it.
I'm afraid I have had some experience with Alzheimer's Disease. My father had it. My family went through a pretty harrowing five years before his death in 2004. Shortly after he died, I found myself going back to a short story that I had written a fair number of years before about an older couple who defy their children and doctors to take a last vacation together. It just felt like something I could write at that time. Other than the opening paragraphs, the story doesn't much resemble the book, but that was my starting point. Oddly enough, that piece was also published this year in my story collection THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT. It's the only story in the book that doesn't take place in Detroit.
I was especially struck when reading the novel by the efforts of the children to exert some measure of control over their parents' lives and medical treatments. I realized when reading that (1) the kids were wrong, and (2) I would be one of those kids. My mom noted that point as well, stating that as she got older, she became more and more concerned that she would no longer be able to make choices about her quality of life.
I found myself sympathizing with the kids though, when I tried to imagine the story from their perspective- trying to keep their parents alive and on track only to discover they had embarked on a cross-country journey in a rickety camper.
I think the financial collapse of the auto industry has turned Detroit into a perennially interesting topic. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a literary ambulance chaser, but I think there's a great chance for an urban renaissance in a city whose industry has collapsed but whose history is long and storied. I look forward to checking out your book!
I'm so excited to find you a LibraryThing member!
I read Second Hand quite a while back. It has always been a particularly memorable book for me because it was about people who thoroughly enjoyed looking through vintage "junk". I much identified with the two characters in that book. I felt quite "at home" in your book, so to speak.
I'm delighted to know that you have more books out, and I'll certainly look for them. I wish you the best.
I agree. Detroit has a very active arts community. It's been interesting to see how the economic downturn has brought artists out to say positive things about the city. I really do think there's something about this place that inspires people. I'm not saying that it's all good, but a lot of great music, writing, and art come out of this place. We're nowhere near dead, though people seem to take great pleasure in saying that we are.
Thanks for the support.
Have we chatted in the past? Your nickname "SqueakyChu" seems very familiar to me. Maybe when SECOND HAND came out? Anyway, thanks for kind comments about the book. I'm glad that you were able to discover through LibraryThing that I have some other books out. (All in the past three months.) It's been quite awhile since SH came out in 2000. After nine years, I think some readers kind of gave up on me. (To be frank, I came pretty close to giving up on myself.) Thanks again.
I've enjoyed both Leisure Seeker and especially Second Hand. Loved the "crackpot theories." Also thought the staccato, vignette style reflected the essence of the junker mindset. Objects do have and elicit a presence. As I read 2nd Hand, I recalled my brother who treasured silver knives and forks passed down because he could feel his ancestors hands on them and visualize them enjoying a meal! I read the book as my siblings and I were dividing up the stuff of our parents lives. As a lover of road trips and the child (now orphaned, mom with cancer, dad partly demented) of parents with a long-term marriage, I could appreciate The Leisure Seeker. Fabulous ending! I've recommended to several people. Your writing flows, full of insights yet easy to read, humor too. Thanks and bring on a few more!
I can't recall that we've chatted in that past, but perhaps. I've gone by "SqueakyChu" since I've had internet access.
One funny tidbit...
Whenever someone has done an alphabetical author challenge, I've alway recommended Second Hand for a book by an author whose last name starts with "Z". There are not too many of you around. Your name was always the first one that popped into my mind! Of course, now you have to compete with Markus Zusak. :)
Both of your new books sounds just quirky enough to be the kind of books I like. Short stories are right up my alley. I'll definitely be on the look out for both of your new books.
My heart goes out to Detroit during this time of economic hardship. I hope the city has a much brighter future ahead.
Back to Second Hand...
One of the things I remember about your book was that I almost felt as if I were with the character looking for interesting things. It was as if I were trying to have him pick out what *I* liked.
Just for fun, I went back into my book notes (I've kept a journal of what I've read since I've had computer access). I saw that I wrote a review of your book in 2001 and gave it 5 stars! I called it "a heartwarming and joyous book"!
...and for even more fun. I'm going to put my eight-year-old book review of Second Hand on Library Thing now!
“In the junk business, we collect the ugly with the beautiful, the bizarre with the elegant, the valuable with the worthless, sometimes forgetting which is which, or intentionally inverting them. We do it because, well, we can. We have the power. Junkers know that all of us have the authority to assign value, that we don’t have to want the things we’re told to want, that it’s good to love that which seems to have no worth.” (Richard, Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian)
“This is a strange thing about people. We own something as children, then as adults we are willing to buy it again for about a hundred times the original cost. We think we’re buying back our youth or our innocence or something like that, but what we’re really buying back is our ignorance. We want to remember a time when we didn’t know so much.” (Richard, Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian)
One section I found particularly poignant was, I believe, the section about the sheets on the bed. You kind of gave a history of the different sheets in their marriage. This was insightful writing.
Thank you. I think I need to read your other books:)
Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed the books. With both, I was amazed at how certain things really seemed to resonate with people. With SECOND HAND, I was surprised at how many people came up to me to talk about having to clean out their parents' homes. It took me a while to realize that I had stumbled onto a kind of archetypal life experience. In some ways, THE LEISURE SEEKER traveled in some of the same territories. Unintentional on my part, I'm afraid. I just tend to write whatever I write. It's only afterward that I start to see the connections.
I'm thrilled to see how many folks have actually read both novels. Because of the long period of time between the books, in many ways, TLS felt like yet another first novel. So it gladdens me to see that some folks actually read SH years ago, then managed to discover TLS so much later. Thanks again.
Thanks for the help with the Alphabetical challenges with your friends. You'd be surprised at how many folks have told me that same thing, that they needed a "Z" author, so I was it. Frankly, I'm willing to take whatever small advantages my Z name can give me. Mostly I think it's a liability. At bookstores, I'm stuck in the alphabetical ghetto of the Fiction and Literature section. ("Keep walking...Next row...Keep walking...farther... farther... now lean down to the very bottom of the last row...") Unless you're determined to get to the Z's, I think people are generally going to find something before then. Oh, well. If Marcus Zusak brings more people into the Z section, I'm happy to have him. Hmmm, I seem to be ranting. Sorry.
Thanks for posting your old review on LibraryThing. Everything helps, I've found. That's cool that you wrote down some favorite passages from SH. I do the same thing with books I like.
If you have any questions about THE LEISURE SEEKER or THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT, please feel free to send them my way.
Thanks so much for your comments. Since you are what I would consider an RV expert and road warrior, I'm pleased that you enjoyed THE LEISURE SEEKER. The book actually got some very nice, thoughtful reviews in some RV magazines. It was good to see the book get exposure in some other venues.
So glad you appreciated the section about the sheets. I've been to a lot of estate sales in my day and when I see things like linens, they just seem too personal to sell. They have so much intimate history to them. It seemed like a good way to relate the history of a couple.
Thank you for your concern.
In various interviews, I've been asked what I would do if my parents took off like John and Ella do in the book. (They didn't, just for the record.) I'm afraid that I too would be just like the children in the book. Concerned, freaking out, and wishing that my parents were home where they belong.
That said, I hope that I would have been able to understand just a little of why my parents would need to do such a thing. It's about independence. John and Ella's generation were nothing if not strong and independent, surviving a depression, a world war, and various other troubles. One can see why it may rankle them to suddenly be dependent on their children. Who wouldn't want to be independent to the very end?
You'd be surprised at how many folks have told me that same thing, that they needed a "Z" author, so I was it.
But I've also had a lot of people tell me that they found their copy (of Second Hand) at a thrift store. (How appropriate.)
Do you have any plans for another book in your future? Any idea what the topic will be (or is that not good to reveal before the book actually comes out)? I like the sort of off-the-beaten-track topics of the two novels you have written and especially look forward to reading your short stories.
Until your new books arrive, Second Hand sits on a shelf in sight of where I am typing this, next to The Road to Wellville, Labyrinths, Black Swan Green and The Island of the Day Before... not bad company.
I'm truly honored to be in your book and in such fine bookshelf company. When I went to your profile, I saw your website and recognized your name and seemed to remember that you had written something about the book. (How did I know? Oh, let's just say it: I'm a pathetic self-Googler. So needy of me, I know. But as an relatively unknown novelist, it's good to find out if anyone is discovering you out there.) Anyway, thanks. And yes, now that I'm getting the hang of LibraryThing, I'm finding it to be pretty darned cool myself.
I do have another book in the works, but am hesitant to talk too much about it. I think I can safely say that it will fit into the "sort of off the beaten track topics" that you mention though.
Thanks again for your interest.