DO YOU FEEL YOU ENDED UP ANSWERING THE QUESTION REGARDING WHETHER OR NOT TIME IS A GOON? IF IT IS, IS THAT MORE SO IN THE DIGITAL AGE THAN IT WAS IN THE PAST? I think time is a goon only in the sense that it always wins. There’s no fighting in, it’s just stronger than you are. It’s the bouncer that just isn’t going to let you in the door no matter what you do. It wasn’t that I ever had a question about whether time was good or bad. That’s like saying, “Is air good or bad, or living on earth good or bad?” I mean, these are the conditions of our existence. I think that time is both. Of course it’s scary to think we each are here for a limited amount of time but I really do think that’s what makes life sweet and not just endurable, but spectacular and finite.

Also, to me, one thing that’s been amazing about getting older is that — I was just talking about this with my kids as we were walking to school, and my older son, who’s always kind of looking ahead, said, “Wow, someday I’m going to have to pay bills!”

HOW OLD IS YOUR SON? He’s 10. You know, he was kind of having a moment of just feeling that weird sense that he would become a grownup. None of us thing it will happen, then when you sort of realize in your 20s, “Oh my God, I guess I’m sort of a grownup.” You still never realize you’ll be a middle-aged person — I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me!

Even though now there’s no getting around the fact that, technically, I’m middle-aged, you can bet that I’m never going to be old. Are you crazy? I’m going to be a grey haired person? No way!

Back to your question. Are we more aware of that? I think technology makes us more aware of it in a number of ways. One, we are simply more connected to people from our past than we used to be. You might even say it’s impossible to escape our past. I also think, because the pace of technological change is so breathtaking, there’s a sense of obsolescence that seems to hit people at a much younger age. Technology changes so fast that it may be making all of us more aware of time passing at a young age than we used to be.

DO YOU THINK NOSTALGIA IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THAT? YOU TALKED ABOUT NEVER ESCAPING YOUR PAST, DO YOU THINK THOSE THINGS ARE IN TANDEM? I don’t know. I am much less interested in nostalgia than I used to be. A couple of characters are nostalgic in Goon Squad — actually not that many; for a book about time, it’s surprisingly unnostalgic. I’m not interested in positing a better, prior moment. I’m interested in how time works on people over the course of their lives.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
Related: Bad sports, Past perfection, Hope against Hollywood, More more >
  Topics: Books , Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize, nostalgia,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious

 See all articles by: THOMAS PAGE MCBEE