Archive January 2008
|The Naming of Vincent Calvino
Recently in an interview I was asked about the name Vincent Calvino. What had
inspired me to use this name? In 1990-91 when I started the Calvino series, I
began going through the possible names for the central character of the book I
planned to write. Naming is an important act in the creation of a work of
fiction. If the name fits, it somehow makes the act of imagining the character
easier, more fluid and the person becomes, in a sense, “real.”
During this time, I had no idea that what became Spirit
House would become the first in what would become a 9-book series (soon to
become a 10-book series). I was working in the office of my apartment in Soi 27,
Sukhumvit Road one morning, going over my notes. I had a very limited budget in
those days. A part of the money was spent on books. Mostly second hand books
that hotel staff would find left behind by guest. They would sell them for small
change to second hand bookstores. On my desk were several such left behind
books. My reading practice has always been to switch my reading between two or
three books. I’d read a hour or more, then slip in a bookmark, and start on
another book, and go back and forth until the books were read. One of the books
I had been reading Italo Calvino’s The Uses of Literature.
Certain authors and their books come into your life at
the right moment. The Uses of Literature was one of those books. I still have
the original copy with my underscoring from the early 1990s. One of those
underscored passages is:
“The telling of stories allowed certain relationships among the
various elements and not others, things could happen in a certain order and not
in others: prohibition had to come before transgression, punishment after
transgression, the gift of magic objects before the trial of courage.”
The second Italo Calvino book I was reading at the same time was “If on a winter’s night a traveler.” I flipped back and forth between these two books. And in so
doing, it was hard not to fall under Calvino’s spell. Together the two books
delivered a one-two punch. One punch was a sidewinder of insight, the other a
body blow of inspiration. Naming my the private eye who would work the mean
streets of Bangkok became an obvious choice. Vincent Calvino became my small
gesture to pay homage to a great master in literature who had influenced my own
thinking about the tradition of literature.
As a footnote, Calvino’s influence hasn’t lessened over the
years. When I was invited to attend Semana Negra in Gijon, Spain in 2007 I found
a number of Latin American writers had also been greatly influenced by Calvino’s
“Six Memos for The Next Millennium.”This small book (128 pages) is a series of lectures Italo
Calvino delivered in the 1980s, where Italo Calvino examined the essential
elements that he believed were part of our literary tradition. Those lectures
have had a significant influence on a generation of Latin American and European
writers. I am not certain what influence it may have had in North America.
Vincent Calvino has been the persona used to transmit evolving
traditions and values of Western and Eastern cultures, showing their
relationship, fault lines, and conflicts. Calvino has allowed me as a
storyteller to record the dance of these two partners who have no choice but to
find a way to move across the dance floor together.
|RISK AND KONA COFFEE IN HAWAII
These two photographs come from Terry Fitzgerald in Hawaii. Terry's wife Susan
and and son Sonny are at Border's Bookstore and in the second shot at his coffee
farm. I've had the pleasure of drinking Terry's coffee.
Susan and Sonny on the balcony at Borders
in Kailua Kona Hawaii
Susan and Sonny
drying Kona coffee at the family farm in Honaunau Hawaii.
|Bangkok update: Film news and New York Times Review
The last week has been a busy one. Two interviews done for Italian journalists
who are great supports of crime fiction. And another interview with a German
journalist who was in town, and I was able to show him a few of the haunts
frequented by Calvino in the novels. A bad case of food poisoning slowed me down
on Friday. It is one of those strikes to the system that you fear at first that
you will die and 12-hours later wish to die. It was traced back to lettuce in a
salad on a restaurant that shall go nameless.
There was been a deal for
the movie rights to the Calvino series. The deal is with Keanu Reeves production
team and a financier named Steve Samuels (who financed Michael Clayton and In
The Valley of Elah. An advance party has arrived in Bangkok and I’ve been
showing them around locations from Spirit
House and The Risk of Infidelity Index. If everything lines up right
(and in Hollywood any project is like a balloon an inch away from a candle
flame) then Keanu Reeves would star as Vincent Calvino. All fingers crossed.
Chris Beckingham, who lives in England, has started a Facebook Group
called: Christopher G. Moore – ‘The Hemingway of Bangkok’ You can find the page
You can log in and join the group. It will include lots of new information about
my books and travels.
One review that most authors wish to receive is in
The New York Times. On Sunday 27th 2008, The New York Times Book Review, Marilyn
Stasio said in her review of The Risk of Infidelity Index: “Moore’s flashy style
successfully captures the dizzying contradictions of [Bangkok’s] vertiginous
landscape.” At the same time the reviewer thought that I had been “mean
spirited” in the treatment of the expat wives in RISK. There is no question that
a review in The New Times has an immediate impact. The ranking on amazon.com had
been over #200,000 before the review, and at one point this morning ranked
Below Adrian Halbert’s 9-year-old son, Simon, holding a copy of The Risk of
Infidelity Index in San Rafael. As you can see the Calvino series is
suitable for readers of all ages.
Borders Books, 588 W.Francisco Blvd., San
|RISK IN ROUND COVE Harwich, Massachusetts
Marge Bunzick, mother of author Sean Bunzick, took this photograph at Round Cove, Harwich, Massachusetts.
Stephen Leather’s Dead Men, the fifth in his highly popular Spider Shepherd series
received a glowing review in The Economist January 19th - 25th. The review
observes, “In brisk newsman’s style he explores complex contemporary
issues while keeping the action fast and bloody…in ‘Dead Men’, Mr. Leather
manages to avoid preaching while he poses tough questions about the morality of
the fight against terrorism and whether the means justifies the end.”
many of you know, Stephen spend a fair amount of time in Thailand. That is when
he’s not in England or Ireland. His novel Private Dancer established Stephen Leather as one of the most widely read
authors in Thailand.
Michael Kitt of Warrenton, Virginia, found a copy of Risk in his local branch of
Borders. Thanks, Michael, for sending this along.
Borders Bookstore, Warrenton Village
Center, Warrenton, Virginia 20186, USA.
My Thai language publisher Siam Inter has released the Thai
translation of A Killing Smile . The title is Thai is:
Ta-non-lo-gee. The rough translation is Carnal Road. I look
forward to hearing from Thai readers. The book opened doors that had long been
closed on the night world.
The price of the Thai edition is Baht 200 and
it is available from Thai language bookstores throughout Thailand.
|RISK DISCOVERED IN TATTERS
Scott McDougal holds a copy of The Risk
of Infidelity Index inside the Tattered Cover book store located at 2526 E.
Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Brent Godfrey, Grand Rapids, Michigan found a copy of The Risk of Infidelity
Index in an independent bookstore.
3165 Alpine NW
Brent Godfrey in
cold 40 mile per hour winds in front of Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan
If you have a jpeg of yourself or someone else holding a copy of RISK, please
send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of readers have written in
asking how to submit the photos. If you attach the jpeg to an email, it should
come through. Be sure to include the location of the bookstore and your mail
address for the free copy of The Big
|RISK AND IRRELIGION IN NEW YORK CITY
Professor John Allen Paulos, who is a mathematics professor at Temple University and has gained international fame through his many books and lectures.
He has sent along the photograph below of The Risk of Infidelity Index and his latest non-fiction book: Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up (Hardcover) Irreligion was #627 on amazon.com Like other of Professor Paulos’s titles it is destined to make the New York Times bestseller list.
Professor Paulos found copies of IRRELIGION and RISK in the East Village. I remember St. Marks Bookstore well from my years in the city. I like the thought that RISK is on the shelf.
Professor J.A. Paulos, St. Marks Bookstore East Village,
New York City, January 5, 2008.
|OFFICIAL RISK TEAM WEAR IN HAWAII
1200 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814
model: john murphy
apparel: official RISK team wear
to reprint given by melissa and john murphy
it was the only copy in the
store, so, purchasers should rush to get it
|MORE RISK IN SANTA MONICA
Painter Chris Coles has found another copy of The Risk of Infidelity Index in a Santa Monica bookstore.
This time it is Barnes & Noble.
Risk of Infidelity Index at Barnes & Noble
bookstore, 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica
Chris Coles, one of
the leading expressionist painters in the Bangkok Noir movement, has sent along
Thai-American Sales Clerk, Thipsuda, at
bookstore in Santa Monica holding copy of The Risk
Index by Christopher G. Moore
|Detectives Search Bookstores for Calvino
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Ala Moana Center
Below is a photograph of
Vinny’s youngest fan in Honolulu, Melissa Murphy. Melissa’s photo seen below was
taken by her father, Honolulu lawyer John Murphy.
They’ve tracked down a
copy of The Risk of Infidelity Index As a result, I will be sending along a signed complimentary
copy of The Big Weird to John, to hold in trust, for the benefit
of his daughter, and to sell on her 18th birthday, at which time the value of
said book should be (in a perfectly ordered universe) sufficient to fund her
Meanwhile, if you are in a bookstore, take along your digital camera
or video camera and do some investigative work. If you photograph or video a
copy of the Atlantic Monthly Press edition of RISK inside the bookstore, either
with you holding it, or your spouse, child, friend, neighborhood drinking buddy,
karate instructor or tax advisor, (or even better) with a member of the
bookstore staff, then I will be send you a signed complimentary copy of The Big Weird
for your own personal investment portfolio. Be sure to include the name
and location the bookstore where you’ve taken the photograph. And make certain
that you have the permission of the person(s) in the picture! There will also be
a grand prize winner who will receive a signed and numbered a free copy of the
Edition of A Killing Smile (US$275.00).
The grand prize winner and
the winning digital photograph or video will be announced on 14th February 2008.