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December 20, 2012

Nick Tosches wants you to think for yourself.

Essayist, novelist, poet and inspired biographer of American badboys (Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Liston, Arnold Rothstein and Dean Martin, to name a few), Nick Tosches has a new novel out called Me and the Devil. So he got interviewed in Esquire for the January 2013 issue by Scott Raab. Tosches proved as usual to be as compelling and authentic as any of his non-fiction subjects. If you regard yourself as erudite, well-educated and free-thinking, and have achieved any measure of success using your brain, do check in with Tosches every once in a while to get in touch with your inner-noble savage, and to test your mettle. Tosches is now in his early sixties. Two excerpts:

Scott Raab: How does a writer retire?

Nick Tosches: I'd retire by allowing most of my days to be as they have been for the past three months: I'll sit on a bench, drink coffee, smoke cigars, and watch the clouds move through the sky, and watch this complete parade of idiocy around me. People speaking into handheld devices while they walk down the street and saying to the device, "I'm walking down the street now."

People are enslaved. I was just up in the country for a few days last week and it was great: no television, no telephone, no nothing. I walked through the woods, sat around, smoked. And it was lovely. I think the desire to be free has mutated, and we now live in an era when the slaves celebrate their slavery--this whole corporate concept of being part of a "team" at work.

SR: The theme apparent in all your books is, to me, a fearless quest for what's at the heart of human knowledge.

NT: We're finite creatures, doomed to never get a fraction of what wisdom it would take to deal with infinity. This book [Me and the Devil] has a lot to do with the unbelievable power and beauty of that almost unattainable freedom. Since none of us really gets to know it, we don't know what extremely powerful dangers might lurk in it.

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Posted by JD Hull at December 20, 2012 02:10 AM


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