Porochista Khakpour's second novel, The Last Illusion, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, an NPR Best Book of 2014, an Electric Literature Best Book of 2014, and one of Flavorwire’s 15 “Most Anticipated Books of 2014″. So, you know ... it's not just, like, me telling you to go read it. It's basically every cool online maker of lists telling you to go read it. Khakpour, a native of Tehran by way of Los Angeles, moved from the memoir-like realism of her first novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, to the magical realism, bordering on downright wonderfully weird of Illusion. We talked that and more this past week on Twitter.
Question 1: Your book made me want to watch a reality show where David Blaine helps Amanda Bynes reacclimate. What's a fantasy reality show you would watch?
Question 2: Tell me something, anything about your abandoned book idea about Bin Laden's ex-girlfriend.
Question 3: Your writing focuses on the power of story amidst trauma. What is the storyteller's responsibility in this equaion?
Question 4: Did your themes lead you to magical realism, or was it the other way around?
Question 5: Are barriers to lit diversity breaking down?
The Last Illusion is available now. There are obvious hints of Gabriel Garcia Marquez here, but there is also a Toni Morrison/Zora Neale Hurston kind of soulfulness and a sense of wonderment in line with the best Michael Chabon. And with all of those comparisons, the best compliment is to say that, actually, it's like nothing else. Go read it.
"I hear before I see. Language, sound leads. ... This book was animated in my head. No choice but to go fabulist."