Daniel Polansky was born near Baltimore, Maryland. Low Town is his first novel, and the first book in a new noir fantasy series.
Daniel Polansky Takes the Deb Interview!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
Shelby Foote’s Civil War: A Narrative had a pretty profound impact on me. Up till then I’d read mostly fiction (literary and speculative) and afterwards I’ve stuck largely to history. It’s also just tremendously, tremendously good. I highly recommend it if you have a spare month or two.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Can I just tick off a few? I moved to New York at the end of July after 9 months abroad or so, and I’m enjoying walking around an American city and quietly observing funny-looking people. I’m enjoying the fact that while it’s hot right now, it’s not unbearably hot. I’m enjoying the hell out of the cup of coffee I’m drinking, which is strong but not overwhelmingly so. I’m enjoying making eyes at the barista, though I’m aware she’s not making eyes at me. I’m happy to be 20 pages into Half a Life by V.S. Naipaul, which shows all signs of being excellent. I’m enjoying this classic soul mix I put on my iPod three or four years back and haven’t listened to in a while. I’m enjoying the full use of my limbs, and that I’m not suffering from any debilitating illnesses. I guess I could go on. It’s a good thing to count those, sometimes.
Where do you love to be?
Kotor, Montenegro—it’s a very small, very old city near the Adriatic Sea. It’s built into the foothills of a mountain ringing the bay, and it’s just about the most beautiful place in the world. I spent a few days there in autumn some years back, getting rained on and watching gray clouds above gray stone buildings. I really loved that place.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had some musical talent. I’m a passionate aficionado of everything from hip hop to Brazilian tropicalia to bluegrass, but sadly my passion never solidified into ability. I’m also really jealous of people who pick up foreign languages easily. Now that you’ve got me started, there are all sorts of things I don’t do very well that I wish I did better.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
That’s a tough one, because I’ve had some pretty weird jobs. I taught English as a second language in Taipei, Taiwan after I finished college. I was unbelievably bad at it. I suspect my students came away knowing less English than they came in with, but I might be exaggerating slightly. On the other hand, my chopstick skills are pretty much unparalleled, and I can speak 20 words of Mandarin. 10, at least. Ok, 5.
Well, we’re thankful you came by in every language, Daniel!
If you’d like to learn more, visit Daniel’s website! LOW TOWN by Daniel Polansky is being published by Doubleday on August 16, 2011, and in ten other languages eventually. Want an autographed first edition? All you have to do to enter the contest is visit danielpolansky.com and post a new comment to the site using the Facebook plugin on the bottom left of each page (making sure to leave “Post to Facebook” checked.)