Monday, January 24, 2011
The Ingram Interview: KB Dixon
It is always a great honor when an author or publicist approaches me for a review, so when K.B. Dixon emailed me, asking if I would like to read and review his book The Ingram Interview, I was anxious to say yes. Further research into who K.B. Dixon is led me to his website where I found out that he is a local, published by a Portland press. I eagerly delved into his interrogative novel.
The Ingram Interview is not a novel so much as a recorded conversation. There is no distinct plot line in the usual sense (beginning, middle, end). Instead it is a series of questions and answers directed at Daniel Ingram, a retired English professor who, after having a heart attack, was placed at an assisted care facility where the interview begins. The interview follows Daniel through his leaving the facility and moving in with a former student, Michael, who is now a film-maker.
Dixon's adventure with storytelling reminded me of something my sophomore fiction professor told me, "A good writer never puts a gun on the table unless they're going to use it." There are moments when the interview meanders off in odd directions and I kept expecting those meanderings to lead somewhere. Finally, after finishing the book, I realized the purpose of all those seemingly side notes; The Ingram Interview is a character study. It's not a story so much as it is a close-up look of the character of Daniel Ingram, who is, as it turns out, fairly entertaining. Daniel reminded me of the beloved curmudgeons in my life, who never seem truly happy, and have opinions about nearly everything.
K.B. Dixon promised me "an unrepentantly quirkly novel" and he delivered. I didn't know what to expect, so I was open to the experimental story-telling at work in The Ingram Interview.