Douglas Gunn

    Douglas Gunn was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1950. He has since lived in and around St. Louis, Denver and Idledale, Colorado, Binghampton, New York, and Philadelphia. In the early 1990’s he lived in Tokyo where he taught at Temple University Japan. He has been a cabinet maker, a deck-hand, and a shipyard worker. His first collection of stories is and working (Permanent Press, London, 1991).

    Author’s Statement from The Invention of Violence

    One of my chief interests as a writer is finding ways to allow various perspectives and voices to overlap and invade each other. Many of my stories rely on intrusions in the form of various subtitles, or interruptions and frames tangential to the narratives, which organize the content according to different, often conflicting perspectives. 

    In others my intention is more specifically to violate the boundaries of the unitary self and its linguistic counterpart, the sentence, which I try to accomplish by overlapping the syntax of the narratives, in more or less dramatic ways. The focus, in these stories, is on interrupting and disrupting the language itself of the single, unified perspective. Others are interrupted only by the syntactical distractions of the narrators, distractions which convey the dilemmas of characters whose worlds don’t square with the official ideology condensed in conventional language.

    The “content” I find most compatible with these concerns with language: working-class characters, the citizens of unofficial America confronted with authority in its many forms; the anxieties and dilemmas produced by the disparity between the instability of their lives and the coherence of everyday language. No “solution” is suggested, beyond the attempt to release these characters into the always new and unsettling present by disrupting the official language that defines the only reality available to them.

    Any summary of my intentions like this one is bound to be inadequate, and I always end up feeling like it does an injustice to the stories; in the end, they have to speak for themselves no matter what. My own description of my fiction is bound to be skewed.

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