Hard lines for hard times: American novelist Robert Stone talks about his pessimistic heart
For Stone, the plot twists are secondary to his efforts to observe, describe and critique contemporary America. “I think I was writing about the ways things are now, the ways things have become over the course of my lifetime, which is pretty long.” When I ask what he means by these “things”, his response hits that pessimistic note mentioned in the opening quote. “The selfishness, the dispensing with responsibility on any serious level. It really is about selfishness, about greed, self-satisfaction. A loss of perspective that we might have hoped we had been born with that is somehow disappearing.”
The tone of righteous anger is hard to miss as Stone launches broadsides against America’s economic inequality, class divides, religious fundamentalism, secular self-satisfaction and moral crises from mental health to sexuality, family to education.