Born in England, Richard Rayner now lives in Los Angeles. Rayner is the author of nine books. His first, Los Angeles Without A Map, was published in 1988. Part-fiction, part-travelogue, this was turned into a movie L.A. Without a Map. In 1996, Rayner published The Blue Suit, a memoir about his early life that won an Esquire Non-Fiction Award in the UK.
His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and many other publications. He has worked as an editor at Time Out Magazine, in London, and later on the literary magazine Granta, then based in Cambridge.
Currently Rayner writes a monthly column entitled Paperback Writers for the Los Angeles Times. His work has been translated into many languages. He lives in Santa Monica.
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An Interview with Richard Rayner about Cloud Sketcher
This novel is a departure from your previous novel, Murder Book,
although some elements of detective fiction are still present. Does it signal a
permanent change of direction in your work?
Murder Book was Los Angeles cops and robbers, in other words a straightforward genre novel, although it arose out of real and true experiences I'd had with the LAPD while reporting for the New York Times magazine, so it didn't quite feel like that as I was writing it. It felt like fictional reportage on the city in which I live. Only later did I realize, hey, I've written a police procedural. But I've always loved what good genre writers give you: story, pace, movement, life, a sense of things happening on the page. Likewise, I find a lot of so-called literary novels dull fare indeed. The Cloud Sketcher is very different in that it's historical and has a big sweep-encompassing the Finnish Civil War, architecture and idealism, New York in the 1920s, the Jazz Age etc. The element of detective fiction is murder, a turning point in the story, although I don't think that violence belongs to, or should be left to, the crime genre alone. I suppose what I ...
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