You can watch the entire evening above: Andrew introduces the book, then reads two excerpts, fields a Q&A, and then plays the ukulele.
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mr. Greer and his husband David Ross before the reading, at Aub Zam Zam, and am happy to share with you one of my favorite moments of our conversation:
ANDREW SEAN GREER: I think the poets do the hard work of coming up with new stuff and new ways to talk about things, which, as we were talking, is a way to power: a new way to use language. And novelists read poets. Novelists write the novel. They make it into a movie. It gets into the popular culture, and suddenly everyone thinks about things in a new way. Maybe that’s a terrible way to think about the power of language, but eventually it changes the culture. And it’s not Hollywood that makes up that stuff. It’s the poets. It’s like Anne Carson came up with a new way to think about things. And it’s making its way into the culture.
EVAN KARP: So talk to me about the movie. For this book.
ASG: What can I say? I got a phone call last week… I think it’s fine. No one’s asked me about this… from a celebrity who read the book and loved it so much she called me up personally to talk to me about it. I thought it was going to be one of her assistants who was like, loved your book, she’s interested. Right. She didn’t read it. But oh no no no. She called me. She read it. She totally got it. There were a couple other people interested and they sort of all made a deal together, and she’s optioned the rights to it. We’ll see what happens. But it’s fun because it was Madonna.
EK: I’m sorry you got a phone call from Madonna? That’s incredible.
DAVID ROSS: Can you imagine his 15-year-old little self? If he could go back in time, actually, and be like It’s all going to be OK, Andy. (laughter) Little Andy. Little gay Andy.
(We all laughed pretty hard right here.)
ASG: Like, let me quote your novel back to you. Which has like five fantasies involved: I’m going to write a novel. Madonna will have read the novel and call me and quote it back to me and want to make a movie.
DR: The fact that Madonna knows his name is enough for me.
EK: Yeah. You should be going to every bar in the neighborhood — you probably, this is what you did all week — like, Madonna…
Their laughter told me they’d been in more than a couple bars this week, doing exactly that. How could they not, right? Madonna and a few others have purchased the rights to The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (there, that’s the sentence). Let’s hope it happens! In the meanwhile, go get the book. You can start changing the culture right now.
- Read more about the book right here
- Read some of the reviews: New York Times | Washington Post | Publishers Weekly | San Francisco Chronicle | The Star
- Listen to Greer talk about the novel
- Watch these old videos, they’re amazing
- Watch Andrew read an excerpt at Quiet Lightning