The show that airs this evening at 7:30 (and repeats on Friday night at 10:30) is my truly digressive conversation with the hilarious Daniel Handler, author of the darkly wonderful Lemony Snicket books for children (The Penultimate Peril, the 12th installment of the "Unfortunate Series of Events" series, just hit the stores) as well as two novels for adults. While conducting this interview, I was continually delighted by Handler's grouchy, morose persona -- it was like hanging out with one of my dad's rowdy old Trotskyist friends, before they got totally bitter. Plus he plays a fine accordion!
Preparing for our encounter, I got happily obsessed with Handleriana. My son and I started making our way through the Lemony Snicket series -- laughing with cringing amazement as the author, improbably, was able to continually add to the poor Baudelaire orphans' misery. By myself, I read Handler's second adult novel, Watch Your Mouth, in which the frantic, pansexual, and possibly delusional hero must face the music in various aspects of his young life (Handler's an opera fan, and this particular obsession gives the book a unique structure). At this very moment, I am listening to The Magnetic Fields' pop masterpiece 69 Love Songs, for which Handler contributed the droll liner notes. And I note that early next year the amazing folks at Word for Word will be adapting four chapters of Handler's upcoming novel, Adverbs, into a stage piece. Those seeking to further satisfy a Handler jones can link to the cool weeklong diary he kept for Slate.com a few years ago.
Dare I say that Daniel Handler -- in spite of his eternal pessimism -- has been responsible for a very fortunate series of events? Yes, I so dare. And I hope you enjoy our conversation.
16 comments October 24th, 2005