Monthly Archives: August 2015

WIPs Conversation: Harold Jaffe on his work in progress BRANDO BLEEDS

Harold Jaffe is the author of 23 volumes of fiction, novels, docufiction, and essays, most recently Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories, ODParis 60Revolutionary BrainOthello Blues, and Induced Coma: 50 & 100 Word Stories. His books have been translated in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, Cuba, Turkey, Romania and elsewhere. Jaffe is editor-in-chief of Fiction International.

Hal, your novel Brando Bleeds covers a lot of ground in various forms in depicting Marlon Brando’s life, providing readers with a certain sense of insight into the man himself that goes well beyond our simple understanding of celebrity. Why did you choose Brando for your novel’s subject? Has his story been something you’ve wanted to address for a while?

Certain figures interest me, and they often seem to combine an unremitting cultural resistance with melancholy, compassion, and a coyote-trickster sort of humor. Odd-seeming combination, I know. With this “odd-seeming combination” in mind, I’ve written about Chet Baker, Hurricane Carter, Walter Benjamin, Leadbelly, Lady Day, Nina Simone, and–hold the phone–Charles Manson. Best not to believe what you’ve heard about Manson.

I think of Brando in a similar vein as one of my (reimagined) humans.

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Harold Jaffe: “Hair” and “Lino 1,” excerpts from the novel BRANDO BLEEDS as published on WIPs

Hair

 
There was Lino Ventura, Wally Cox, Satch Sanders, Christian Marquand.
My detractors called them toadies and maybe they were.
Hell, I was a fucking matinee idol so there’s going to be hangers-on.
But they were also my friends, until they died or betrayed me.
Or I betrayed thembecause of some mood I was in.
Were the friendships strictly platonic?
Not strictly, no.
But my thing was females, as I’ve said, and they came around in droves.
I could never get enough.
That was long before I’d become too fat to fuck.

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