Friday, November 13, 2015



Dominick is always just passing through. He is a professional houseguest who follows the sun and the leisure class from resort to resort. But this winter he lingers on a quaint New England island and in spite of his best intentions becomes involved in the travails of his eccentric geriatric hosts. An environmental protest against a proposed liquid natural gas terminal turns ugly, and by accident and happenstance Dominick becomes a mistaken suspect in terroristic bombings.

But the book, of course, is really about its characters, and the plot is just to keep them busy as we get to know them. None of them are young — white-bearded men and blue-coiffed women — dealing with aging, dementia, and ungrateful children. Dominick strives to float above it all in a life of itinerant escape. A New England comedy of sorts, on another level the book is an extended meditation on history and identity.


John, how did you get started writing?

When I was 17 I was with a date in the backseat of my best friend Michael Joyce’s ’57 Chevy when he recited a poem he had written to his date in the front seat. We were on South Park Avenue in Buffalo, New York, headed out of town for some reason. I remember the line, “Run run run, children on a sugar cube road.” I was impressed. No one I knew had ever written a poem before. The next day I wrote my own poem, and I couldn’t stop. Up to that point I had figured I would be a painter like my mother. That was 53 years ago. I haven’t stopped writing.

What’s your relationship with your TV remote and your cell phone?
This is easy — out front — there is no relationship. Maybe it was my quarter century in the South Pacific bush whilst everyone else was getting addicted. I’ve never watched much TV, these days maybe a couple of innings of baseball in a sports bar where the sound is muted. I have a cromagnon fliptop phone thing, but I like it turned off. I don’t text or tweet. I miss getting letters in the mail. When was the last time you got a postcard?

I take your point. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m a mesovert.

I had to look that one up. The word isn't in the dictionary, but there are several blogs talking about it, so I found out that a mesovert is someone who needs solitude sometimes but also needs social interaction at times. This makes much more sense than when people say they're both an introvert and an extrovert. I think it's much more accurate to say you're a mesovert. Next question: YouTube is. . .
Someone else’s waste of time.

Do you spend more on clothes or food?
I find this an amazing question. Are there really people who would have to stop and ponder this one? The world is sicker than I thought.

Some people wear clothes only so they won't be naked. Others are fashion conscious. The question isn't one to ponder, but speaks more to your personality, which readers are often curious about. Moving on . . . Have you ever been to a fortune teller? What did she tell you?
That I played the piano. I don’t.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Nick Carraway.

Do you have a favorite book that was turned into a movie?
Moby Dick — the original Gregory Peck version. I loved the real whale-hunting sequences.

What’s the hardest thing you ever had to write?
Funeral eulogies for bosom friends.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Be good and you will be lonesome.” -Mark Twain

What would your main character say about you?
Where’d he go?

Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anybody?
Barack and Michelle, and then a few dead friends. We can only seat six at the kitchen table.

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty; it’s half-way to being refilled.

What are you working on now?
Books four and five of the Dominick Chronicles series — Port Athens and Unholy Grail.

Other books by John Enright

Pago Pago Tango (2012)
Fire Knife Dancing (2013)
The Dead Don’t Dance (2014)
Blood Jungle Ballet (2014)
14 Degrees South (2012)


John Enright was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1945. After serving stints in semi-pro baseball, the Lackawanna steel mills, and the publishing industry in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, he left the United States to teach at the American Samoa Community College and spent the next twenty-six years living on the islands of the South Pacific. Over the past four decades, his essays, articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in more than seventy books, anthologies, journals, periodicals, and online magazines. Today, he and his wife, ceramicist Connie Payne, live in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

Connect with John:
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