"He Said, She Said" is an ongoing domestic dispute between FCEtier and his charming wife, Bob, who aren’t sensitive enough to keep it to themselves. Join them as they discuss, dissect, and generally disrespect movies, books, and music (all in the name of journalism). Being outspoken, opinionated egomaniacs, they tackle nearly any topic, whether they know something about it or not. Pitting a Jersey girl against a Louisiana gentleman may not be fair, but that’s life for you. Here’s your chance to see where you stand in the battle of the sexes (and to finally discover Bob's gender).
“Every day, tragic things are reported. Those that do get coverage are only a small percentage of the daily heartbreak suffered throughout the lands that comprise our planet.” — that’s how Miss Bob’s review of Tales of Woe begins. Our bargain was that she would read and review the book and I would interview the author, John Reed (although she contributed many of the questions). I spoke with the Tulane graduate on Labor Day and we managed to keep our rivalries at bay. [I’m a loyal LSU fan.]
Would you care to share a brief bio with our readers?
I live in New York and I went to Tulane, majoring in philosophy. Then I went to grad school at Columbia University for creative writing. I was a good student and kept getting scholarships. I’ve published three novels and wrote a new play. It’s all Shakespeare. I took all his plays apart, line by line and put them back together into a new tragedy. I teach creative writing at Columbia.
Tales of Woe work has been described as “depressing,”, “macabre,” “violent”, “dismal”,”disheartening.” “sad.” How did you get interested in this type of subject matter? What’s the story behind this book? What motivated you?
In terms of how I got interested, part of what interested me was the story telling that we have in the West, and certainly the United States. It’s very uniform. You have this sin, suffering, redemption story, which we think of as the only story. In fact, it’s not the only story at all. That’s a very narrow model of what story-telling is. In terms of Tales of Woe, people were suffering, they’d sinned, done something wrong, so they felt like they deserved it. You feel like it’s going to work out in the end. That’s what I feel like the story-telling mechanism is — you get a powerful story — some dynamite tearjerkers. My experience in life is that if you go around expecting justice, you know, I get rewarded when I do something well, or people get punished when they do something crappy, then it just leads to a lot of unhappiness. So, that was the idea behind the book.