Dan Crowe (ed.) / Granta
In Dead Interviews, Dan Crowe has licensed a host of contemporary writers to imagine how they would handle an interview with the deceased icon of their choice. The pieces they produce animate a cast of writers, politicians, artists, scientists and musicians from the last two-and-a-half centuries (most of them white and male) who their inventors treat with a combination of irreverence, disdain, enthusiasm and earnest respect. The stand outs are Rick Moody, who asks a series of increasingly irrelevant questions to the rambling and enlightened Jimi Hendrix; Geoff Dyer who, in a moment of drug-addled comic gold, barely lets Friedrich Nietzsche get a word in edgewise; and A.M. Homes’ Richard Nixon, who seems incapable of self-reflection. The crown of the collection is Joyce Carol Oates’ short story ‘Lovely, Dark, Deep’ in which her invented interviewer of Robert Frost, Evangeline Fife, lingers around the poet at the Bead Loaf Writers’ Conference in 1951 as an increasingly accusatory ghost. As the collection’s longest piece, it’s easily its most faceted, and like its best pieces, the story plays dangerously on the line dividing the fiction and the reality of its chosen subject’s life.