Eric Bogosian
Actor, screenwriter, playwright, and author.
EVENT: Bogosian reads from Mall at Elliott Bay Book Company on Fri Nov 17, 7:30 pm.

Mall is your first novel. What drew you to this story as a novel rather than as a play or a monologue? "Everything I do, certainly a play or a solo thing, has to be in dialogue. There are limitations to that. In this case I get the freedom of saying what people are thinking as well. I found myself having a really great time wandering around inside their skulls."

What appealed to you about the mall as a setting? "First of all, it's not just any mall; it's the mall in my mind. I find myself pondering malls all the time. I was one of the first mallrats. They built one of the first malls by where I grew up. I live in the suburbs, and if I want to get my kid's shoes, I have to go to the mall. Many of us feel we're above them, but we're still there--we have a way of looking at ourselves, but then there is what we are actually doing."

All of the characters are seeking some kind of satisfaction, but all of them are deeply alienated, partly by their search. "Yeah, definitely. Alienation has become such a part of the American lifestyle that nobody even notices they're alienated anymore. Everybody's ill in some way, taking some kind of antidepressant."

Are there certain authors or writing that inspires you? "There's an element of reportage to the kind of writing I like. There's a descriptive part of it, a kind of detail that draws me to it, like Norman Mailer's nonfiction or virtual nonfiction. Or the way John Updike writes about the suburbs in the Rabbit books. It's the mundane stuff that gets at the core. That's part of what I wanted to do with the book. That's why I set it at the mall. When Americans don't know what to do with themselves, they either watch TV or they drive somewhere and buy something."