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Alexander Yates at Powell’s

July 14, 2011

Alexander Yates was at Powell’s last night reading from his debut novel Moondogs.  Yates describes the book as a “literary thriller with daddy issues and magic.” For sure it’s an action-packed, genre-bending story that takes place in the Philippines about an American business man who gets kidnapped.  His son goes looking for him but soon realizes his father is a different guy in the Philippines than in the U.S.  Yates commented that, “He had some lifestyle choices there available to him that would not have been available back home.”  The three other story lines concern groups of people that are pulled into the drama that revolves around the kidnapping.
On who influenced him most for the magical parts of the novel Yates said, “When I was in high school my girlfriend gave me One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and I married her largely for that.  I also love Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. It’s about magical realism and national identity and it’s got superheroes. It blew my mind that he could do the identity stuff and also do the fun.  I thought it was really awesome.”
When asked what a moondog is and why it’s the title of his book, Yates replied: “Has anyone ever seen a lunar halo? If you look up at a moon sometimes in the upper atmosphere there can be schmutz and ice chip particles. It’s kind of like a rainbow but it’s higher up and it’s completely around the moon and depending on atmospheric conditions, it can be distinct and bright.  On the halo you can get these flares and it’s like a refracted piece of light. It’s kind of ‘metaphory’.  There are characters in different places who see the same moondog at the same time and it happens at an important moment. And also there are dogs all over the book and it’s kind of a silly homage to Reservoir Dogs because the kidnapper’s plan is based on Tarantino movies that he’s seen. That’s why his code name is Mr. Orange.”
Cool debut Alex – can’t wait for the next one!


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