Mark Spragg is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, and the novels The Fruit of Stone, An Unfinished Life, and Bone Fire. All four were top-ten Book Sense selections and have been translated into fifteen languages.
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A Conversation with Mark Spragg about An Unfinished Life
You've said that the idea for this book began with the image of an
embittered old man sitting alone on his porch. Where did this scene come from?
For me, most stories start as a single scene that refuses to leave my imagination. I've often wondered what prompts them, because they rarelywhen they first start upappear to be connected to anything that's going on in my life. In this case, the scene was a man approaching seventy, sitting tightly in a chair on a porch, surrounded by a mob of half-feral cats. He kept reappearing in my mindoccasionally in my dreamsand inevitably I started the process of questioning myself about him. Why is he embittered? Does he own a chance for personal redemption? Who else shares his suffering? It's the process of questioning that ends up defining some sort of story.
Is the character of Einar Gilkyson, which this man became and who anchors the novel, based on anyone?
Einar wasn't fashioned after any particular man I know, but his dedication to his daily work, the land he husbands, his familywhether blood or notI'm sure has been influenced by the old men that ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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