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Announcing Trevanian's latest novel
The Crazyladies of Pearl Street
published 4 June 2005

Crown publishers is also re-issuing the first five of Trevanian's earlier novels in their
Summer of Trevanian

Trevanian's desk/Question and Answer Session

Trevanian thanks all those who have written to him over the years. He has never done a live interview but has answered written questions put to him from time to time. He does not answer individual letters but some may find their questions answered on this and other pages of the web site.(-ed)

subjects: Shibumi and the Israel-Palestine conflict; teaching writing; on his father (in Crazyladies); America's future; great places in my life; literary globalisation

Q:Since I first read Shibumi and then reread it twenty years later, my opinion of the Israeli-Palestinian situation has changed entirely, as a result of becoming much better informed...Has your opinion in this regard at all changed since Shibumi has been published?

A:I hope there are many Americans who can remain flexible through the fog of prejudice and fear about this issue.

Things have changed almost entirely in Israel/Palestine over the nearly thirty years since I wrote Shibumi: the underdogs have become the bullies, and intractable fundamentalists call the shots in Israel; what in Shibumi we called the Mother Company (the Petro-chemical Mafia) have inserted their creature into the White House; and the greatest potential for ecological disaster is no longer man's lazy thirst for oil, but rather his soaring over-population.

Nicholas Hel would not have lent his support to the current leaders of Israel. He would have wished the current rational leaders of Palestine all good fortune in negotiating towards peace with justice, now that Arafat is no longer in the way. (Footnote: Arafat's end has all the marks of an inside job, almost surely with the assistance of the second bureau. Israel, of course, knew what was going on, and it's likely that they informed the United States, but that's not sure. It's hard to put limits on the incompetence of American intelligence services. Each time we find a lower value, they prove they can fail even that; so Israel might not have informed us early enough for us to get our clumsy hands into things and mess them up.)

What should America do now? Using such tatters of even-handedness as we still possess, we should guide (drag, if necessary) the Israelis into as fair and honest a sharing of land and water as is possible. Then we must open our hands and carefully step back, out of Middle East affairs, turning them over to the United Nations.

Q: You went back to Pearl Street and spent the afternoon sitting on a step talking to an old man about how the world was going to hell in a hand basket. So what should we do to save it?

We should address our considerable industrial know-how and creative engineering to the conception and devising of alternatives to our relentless waste of carbon fuels: the stored up ancient sunshine of three million years squandered in a century. Big projects and small; new methods, new practices, new gadgets. To hell with salving national egos with the wasteful big project (ironic italics) of putting human beings on Mars. Most of what will be usefully discovered about Mars for the next two hundred years can be done with smaller, cheaper, unmanned pay-loads. We should take that wasted money and turn our intentions inwards, concentrating on our disadvantaged, our poor, our unhealthy, our under-educated and uncultured, our old; and on the unhealthy and under-educated of the world.

We must recover our fundamental rights to expression and free speech.

By displaying the strength of character necessary to avoid purchasing the cheap, job-robbing, slave-made merchandise of China and India, we should use our last great strength, our massive consumerism, to provide a market for simple, well-made, clever things we make ourselves: everything from toys to tools, from wholesome gift-food to garden products (and that's just the Ts and the Gs)...all made well from strong, renewable materials...all small regional businesses...all providing jobs for Americans. Announce: "Our purchases are our jobs."

We could begin with catalogues of birthday and Christmas gifts, all made in America, all made of renewable materials, all useful and ingenious and 'good in the hand', all made to last, and, of course all more expensive than products made at slave wages in Asia and spewed at us by Walmart and it's like. There must be a special kudos on giving and receiving American.

On the national level, we should bend our natural gifts and skills as the 'can do' nation to perfecting what the world needs from us: alternate sources and better uses of energy. This is the kind of thing Americans are good at. Perhaps in this way we shall rebuild our shattered economy, and reclaim something of our reputation as the good guys in the international schoolyard...not just the crude, cruel, under-cultured bullies that we have become in recent years.



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