Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Five books on Texas

Attica Locke is a writer who has worked in both film and television. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has written movie scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, and Jerry Bruckheimer films, as well as television pilots for HBO, Dreamworks, and Silver Pictures. Her acclaimed debut novel is Black Water Rising.

She discussed five books on her home state of Texas with Eve Gerber at The Browser, including:
by Nic Pizzolatto

Finally, Galveston is a noir novel about a road trip along the Gulf Coast of Texas by Nic Pizzolatto. What makes it worth reading?

It’s just a great piece of fiction, lean and literary. The book starts out in New Orleans and ends up in Galveston. Those cities, to me, share the same soul. A lot of people don’t realise how French Galveston is – Galveston’s town centre looks very much like the French Quarter in New Orleans and there are a lot of Creole folk there. There’s symmetry between the two cities.

The story starts in New Orleans with this guy Roy, who works for people connected to the underworld. He finds out he may not have that long to live, he gets into trouble, there’s a big shoot-out within the first couple of chapters and he ends up on the run with this barely legal girl. They hide out in Galveston. A lot of the action takes place on the eve of Hurricane Ike. Ike devastated Galveston in 2008. So many of the places Pizzolatto wrote about aren’t there any more. It’s particularly poignant to read it while realising what the city is about to go through. Hurricanes are part of the way of life along the Gulf. I’ve spent a lot of time in Galveston because I’m a Gulf girl. Pizzolatto really captures coastal Texas to a T.

Your selection demonstrates the diversity within your home state, which is bigger than Spain or France.

As you say, Texas is big. It is geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse. I’m from Houston, which is part of East Texas. East Texas borders Louisiana. Parts of it are more like New Orleans than Arizona. East Texas is lumber country – they call it “the big thicket”. It couldn’t look more different than tumbleweed territory. It seems more southern than Waco, which is in West Texas and it’s much less western than El Paso or San Antonio, the town of the Alamo. Texas is not typically Southern or entirely Western in feel. Texas is its own thing.
Read about the other Texas books Locke tagged.

See The Page 69 Test: Attica Locke's Black Water Rising.

Also see Writers Read: Nic Pizzolatto, The Page 69 Test: Galveston, and My Book, The Movie: Galveston.

--Marshal Zeringue