david hollander   L.I.E.  
david hollander    
reading from l.i.e.

interview with david hollander

read an excerpt from l.i.e.


"Everyone has a friend who looks like me," explains David Hollander as I photograph him for Bold Type. Indeed, this may be true. And while the stark originality of his debut novel will surely set Hollander apart from his doppelgangers, many readers will recognize themselves in Hollander's revealing portrait of suburbia and of L.I.E.'s simpatico protagonist, Harlan Kessler.

As Hollander describes L.I.E., "It's about a group of post-high school adolescents growing up in suburban Long Island, trying to figure out what to do with themselves. There don't seem to be very many options. They're kind of just partying, playing in bands, doing the things that kids that age tend to do. The book is a coming-of-age story but is also supposed to have these philosophical undertones about alienation and self-hood." L.I.E. is actually a collection of ten interwoven stories that span a few years' time. They center around Harlan Kessler and his quest to find himself if in fact--and this is something Harlan grapples with throughout the book--he truly exists. Hollander experiments with different structures and narrative devices in these stories, each of which functions entirely on its own and, when assembled as they are in L.I.E., depict a cross section of one young man's life and the various characters that drift in and out of it. The result is what any of us would likely find in reviewing the past five or ten years--a collection of seemingly unrelated anecdotes and situations, replete with secondary characters both major and minor, that form the composite of who we are at any given moment in time.

The book's setting is one that Hollander knows well. He grew up in middle Long Island, a landscape of strip malls that he describes as "a place where everything good was systematically removed." Despite this somewhat bleak portrait, L.I.E. feels anything but hopeless. It is an intelligent, singular debut work whose metafictional devices propel the story toward its surprise ending.

In this issue of Bold Type, read an interview with David Hollander and an excerpt from L.I.E., and listen to the author read from his work.

--Laura Buchwald

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