Arts & Culture

Guest Post: Adam Levin, Author Of The Instructions

The chance to savor 1,000 + pages of a book that brings to mind a strange hybrid of David Foster Wallace and Philip Roth as an angsty Jewish kid in the Chicago suburbs, is one that we really suggest nobody miss out on. Adam Levin was the man who took up the challenge of writing that book, and he will be guest blogging for us over the next week. Read More

By / November 1, 2010
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The chance to savor 1,000 + pages of a book that brings to mind a strange hybrid of David Foster Wallace and Philip Roth as an angsty Jewish kid in the Chicago suburbs, is one that we really suggest nobody miss out on.  Adam Levin was the man who took up the challenge of writing that book, and he will be guest blogging for us over the next week.

For his first post Adam discusses why the heck he’d want to write such a big novel.

Lately, people have been asking me questions like, “Your novel, THE INSTRUCTIONS, is over 1,000 pages, huh?” and “At least 3 other long novels have been published this year, haven’t they?” and “I haven’t read many books over 500 pages, do you know that?” To which I always say the same thing: Yes.

Some other questions with numbers in them to which I say yes are: “Is it true that THE INSTRUCTIONS took 9 years to write?” “Is it the case that, during those 9 years, you wrote, on average, for 6 hours a day, 7 days a week?” “You were smoking between 40 and 80 cigarettes a day that whole time, weren’t you?” “While it’s a stone cold fact that you quit smoking cold turkey 10 weeks ago Thursday, is it not also equally cold-stonely factual that you have gone from eating 1 to 2 ice creams per week, 0 to 1.5 watermelons per week, 2 to 3 pizzas per week, and haven’t, since you quit, written 1 sentence worth showing to anyone, present company and present sentence included?”

“You have blogged 0 times before, correct?” “6 days ago, you asked a good friend how exactly you–a delicate little flower of an ex-smoker who, even when things are going well for him, takes about 6 hours to write 100 words he can live with–could possibly write the 3 500-word blogposts for Jewcy that you agreed to write without spending at least 90 and maybe as many as 270 hours doing so, and this good friend, whose advice you would take/are taking, told you to pretend you were writing him an email, no?” “And this same friend also told you that 500 words didn’t always mean 500 words, stating that 500 words might, for example, mean 300 words or even 700 words, and at the thought of 3 700-word blogposts, you ate 2/3 of a watermelon, correct?” “Is it really true that blogs pay this many dollars: 0?” “You live with exactly 1 green Quaker Parrot, age 3, da?” “Your friend who told you to pretend this blogpost was an email remembered, right after he told you that, that you used to send him emails about your Quaker Parrot, and told you that you should not pretend that this blogpost was like one of THOSE emails, that your parrot was allowed a single–i.e. 1–shout-out, and then you had to ‘never ever mention the bird again, levin,’ true?”

“And isn’t it the opposite of false that you told Jewcy that 1 of the blogposts you would write for them would be about big books, about how there seem to be more of them than usual, and why that might be, and this was supposed to be that blogpost, but it turned out you didn’t have many coherent thoughts on that subject, that all you really had were a couple lines of praise for HBO’s The Wire, and some little riff about drawing from the pleasures of immersive video games that ceased to ring true the very moment you wrote it down, and that you have no idea at all why there seem to be more long novels coming out than usual, you dislike sociological approaches to art, and you feel especially ill-equipped to discuss recently published big novels because you haven’t read any recently published big novels other than THE INSTRUCTIONS, and you aren’t, in fact, a particularly big fan of big novels (though it’s true that a couple or three big novels are a couple or three of your favorite novels), and that what you would rather do, if you’re going to talk about recently published fiction at all is mention some recently published fiction that you love but which hasn’t received enough attention like THE AVIAN GOSPELS by Adam Novy, THE AWFUL POSSIBILITIES by Christian TeBordo, and THE TASTE OF PENNY by Jeff Parker?”