On March 25, local snowbird resident, journalist, novelist, and all-around author Phil Caputo, addressed an enthusiastic gaggle of fans and well-wishers at Cady Hall, reading passages from his new novel, Memory and Desire, which will be published this fall. Caputo is currently Patagonia’s ranking literary light, now that Jim Harrison, his dear friend and hunting pal, has gone to the great bookshop in the sky.
The room was packed—standing room only—about 80 people. After reading several intriguing pages, Caputo shifted to funnier stuff, which also came from the new book. His public clearly lapped it up. The author, too, seemed pleased and cheerful, answering questions from the crowd about some of his earlier work, traumatic residue of Vietnam, and how much of the stuff he writes is based on his own life.
Caputo answered every question with grace, humor, and candor. He mentioned that writing non-fiction was much easier than fiction because, in non-fiction, the topic and the information were, themselves, a sort of basic form or skeleton, while, writing fiction, you begin with nothing—a blank slate—no form nor content —nothing—till you conjure them yourself—which is a far more daunting task. He also said, as many writers do, that the characters take on a life of their own. It’s they and their proclivities that often shape the storyline, and can frequently blindside the author himself.
“Memory and Desire” will be published in September by Arcade Publishing. More information is available at Caputo’s website.