Tuesday, March 11: Author Scott Heim appeared at the Barnes and Noble in the Chelsea area of New York City to read from his new novel We Disappear. I’ve attended dozens of book readings around Manhattan in the two years I’ve been here; this was (by far) the largest crowd for a gay author. (oops, take that back – I attended Jeffrey Toobin’s reading and he appeared with Anderson Cooper.) So, to rephrase, this was the largest reading by an OPENLY gay author. And it was easy to see why Scott is so popular (besides his excellent writing skills). He’s really cute and the way he kept rubbing his freshly-buzzed hair was so endearing, I wanted to run up there and rub it too. More than one guy did at the signing part of the event, sort of the way people feel like they can go up to a pregnant woman and rub her belly.
You may recall Scott from his previous books Mysterious Skin and In Awe as well as the movie adaptation of Mysterious Skin. During one of my earliest visits to New York several years ago I saw this movie at the Quad. It was fantastic. One of those movies that stays in the front of your head for a long time. It’s dark, but so real, in the way that comes alive.
Admittedly I haven’t had a chance to read We Disappear yet, but I’m taking it with me on a trip this weekend. But here’s a rave review by Sarah Weinman of the Los Angeles Times:
“[S]uspenseful….Clearly, this is a writer well acquainted with darkness…. We Disappear ventures down a twitchy, discomfiting path, with small disturbances blowing up into larger ones, like a film camera zooming in for a high-definition close-up…. We Disappear is more honest, and thus more troubling, for it reflects the stark knowledge that truth is only an amalgam of experience, a collection of individual shards that don’t coalesce into a pleasing whole. As Heim suggests, the search for truth invites the Hansels and Gretels of the world to follow the wrong adult home, the Alices to peer down the rabbit hole—and fantasy to cover up the nasty grime of reality.”
Below is a video recording of Scott’s reading.
Sadly, this was the final book reading at the Chelsea Barnes and Noble because the store is closing on March 31. You know it’s bad when even a mega-chain behemoth like B&N refuses to pay the exorbitant rent this town demands. But they couldn’t have picked a more compelling guy for their swan song.
Here’s Part One:
Because YouTube limits videos to 100MB or 10 minutes, the event is in seven parts:
Part Two: The missing children
Part Three: “Scott’s” mother’s obsession with missing children: Where does it come from?
Part Four: “We believe she’s out there somewhere,” he was saying. “Probably being held against her will.”
Part Five: Scott concludes his reading and takes questions, beginning with “Do you have a special attraction to kidnapping?”
Part Six: Find out what helped Scott break through his writer’s block.
Part Seven: Actual memory vs. what we think we remember.
How to contact Scott:
ScottHeim.com: Check out the video trailer on his website. It’s pretty eerie, in an everyday sort of way. It’s happening all around us. Or is it? And find out where Scott’s tour stops are, and his blog and other reviews he’s posted.