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 Post subject: Gangemi Q&A #14
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:38 am 
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This our last question and answer with Gangemi. I hope you have enjoyed reading his answers. DITHOT & I (as well as the rest of you Noodlemantras, I'm sure) greatly appreciate Mr. Gangemi's graciousness in taking the time to answer these questions for us. Joe, you :rocknroll:!

Who did Chester resemble in Finch’s dream? If it was Finch, was it just wishful thinking on Finch’s part that the boy resembled him? Why did you feel it was important to leave Chester’s paternity in question? Who was Chester’s father?

Gangemi:
Ah, the Big Questions. Sorry to cop out, but I never answer these (and everyone asks). I want readers to wrestle with the ambiguities of the ending, because that's what Finch is forced to do. I realize this may lose me some fans, and that there are certain readers (i.e., fans of traditional mysteries) who will be angered. My editor at Viking warned me as much. But my argument to her was this: If I answered "whodunit" then my book collapses on itself like a soufflé, and gets shelved in the mystery section next to Agatha Christie. Also, it would be a betrayal of my second big theme of the book (after the observation about skeptics being closet-believers): That life isn't a controlled experiment, that you are very rarely given all the information you need to make decisions. But make decisions we must, often big ones, leaping on faith and hoping we'll land safely on the other side. This is the lesson Finch-- like many young men, certainly me at his age-- must learn: That there are mysteries that will never be answered, at least not in this life, and try as you might you will never be able to gather enough information to take all the fear and uncertainty out of decision making.

Also, and your readers probably won't believe me, but I swear it's true: I don't know who Chester's father really is. I have my suspicions. But as I hope has become evident from my answers to your questions, there's an element of the mysterious in the writing of a novel that this author has learned to embrace. It's a little like dreaming… you might know most of the people and places, and even understand some of the more obvious symbolism, but a lot of it remains mysterious. As I was writing "Inamorata" I embraced this. Also, to keep it interesting, I made a pact that whenever I found myself making a case too strongly on one side of the "Is she or isn't she?" question, in the very next scene or soon thereafter I had to shore up the opposite side. So that whenever Finch became too sure of himself, it became my job to pull the rug out from under him. I know this may be hard for readers to believe, but it's the truth.



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You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:17 pm 
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I want to add my sincere thanks to Mr. Gangemi for taking the time to answer our questions and for answering them so honestly. It has given us a wonderful "behind the scenes" look at the art of writing. I eagerly await the movie and look forward to more books also. :thanks!:



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:24 pm 
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It's certainly been very very interesting to hear what an author has to say about his work, and for me even more interesting that I found that I often disagreed with him! Thanks to all who wrote questions.

And I also think he's copping out of this last question. I think he should know! But I like clear facts, and as I said a lot earlier in the discussion of the book, the more you are prone to acts of faith, the more you are likely to be able to allow for the possibilities of the unexplained.



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:56 pm 
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I agree, Endora. I think he should know. But I am happy enough that he doesn't share it with us. Lovely to read the questions and answers. :cool:



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"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:05 pm 
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Again, my thanks to Mr. Gangemi and I applaud the eloquence of his writing in this forum. Absolutely beautiful passages! The answer to this last question makes sense to me, that we should be left to wonder what the answer is.......it almost makes me regret my comments in an earlier thread that I would like the ending neatly tied up in a work of fiction......


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:04 pm 
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I have to say that I liked the ending that way because it made me go back and think about what clues I might have missed or just make up my own mind about who it was.

I appreciate Mr. Gangemi taking his time to answer us and his honesty!
:cool:



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:18 pm 
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Thanks to Mr Gangemi for answering our questions for us and also thanks go out to Liz and DITHOT for making it happen! Great fun to read about his writing process and the hows/whys he did what he did with this book.



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:04 pm 
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I like mysteries :-O and I can connect with his ideas on the uncertainty of life -that you just have to have a stab at it,whatever happens...Thanks Joe for your honest answers and thanks to Liz and DITHOT for all your work in organising this..It's a pleasure to be able to quizz an author. :cool: ..



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:51 pm 
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This was a very unique and appreciated opportunity--expecially in that it was about a book that left us so mystified and with so many different opinions. No wonder!! I found that I could still hold on to the way I chose to interpret the book (the book, not the real life story!) , the way that had the most fulfilling meaning for me. Probably those with opposite opinions weren't discouraged from them either. And that IS real life--oh! the difference in how people choose to interpret things!
Thanks so much for your kindness, Mr. Gangemi!! And thanks so much to Liz and DITHOT for setting this up! :smiliewithhearts:



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:04 am 
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Betty Sue wrote:
And that IS real life--oh! the difference in how people choose to interpret things!


And that is one of the things that makes book discussions so interesting.

DITHOT wrote:
I have to say that I liked the ending that way because it made me go back and think about what clues I might have missed or just make up my own mind about who it was.


Exactly, DITHOT! If it had been tied up all neat and tidy it wouldn't have been as much of a challenge or as interesting a discussion. And for me, I guess that's what all of this is about--the thirst for interesting and challenging discussions.



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You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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