[Q&A with the author] The Body Politic by Brian Platzer @bplatzer #TheBodyPolitic

I’m so excited to be sharing this Q&A with the wonderful Brian Platzer, author of The Body Politic.


Q: What inspired you to write The Body Politic?

A: For two years, I was dizzy all day every day. My vision was blurry, I couldn’t be alone with my kids, teach, write, or carry on a conversation in person or over the phone. I was lonely and scared–feelings exacerbated by the combination of constant suffering and the existential horror of not knowing if the suffering would last forever. After I finally found the medications that now give me a few hours of clarity each day, I wanted to process both my perspective and those of my wife, friends and family who’d endured it all with me.  Then Trump was elected, and the parallels between my illness and the political moment just snuck up on me. There was a comparable frustration, dread, disorientation, and uncertainty. Telling these two stories together put human emotions and decisions on a political scale and contextualized the characters in way that makes their story feel way more alive.

Q: How long did it take you to write your novel The Body Politic?

A: About 4 years!

Q: Do you have a routine of writing at a certain time for a couple of hours or do you do it spontaneously?

A: I have a few hours of clarity every morning, so I teach two mornings a week and write the other three mornings.  Then I edit in the afternoons.

Q: Was there a particular scene which you found hard to write (spoiler-free if possible)?

A: All the scenes involving the kids made me really emotional.  I hate thinking about what my kids went through when I was sick.

Q: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

A: David, one of the protagonists, is pretty much just a taller, friendlier, sadder version of me.

Q: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing a novel?

A: James Baldwin, Philip Roth, Rachel Cusk, W Somerset Maugham

Q: What are some of your favourite books?

A: Giovanni’s Room, American Pastoral, Outline, The Razor’s Edge

Q: Are you currently reading anything – if so, what are you reading at the moment?

A:  I’m reading the great Rachel Monroe’s Savage Appetites

Thank you so much to Brian for taking the time to answer these questions for Breathing Through Pages!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this Q&A!

In the bestselling tradition of The Interestings and A Little Life, this keenly felt and expertly written novel by the author of the “savvy, heartfelt, and utterly engaging” (Alice McDermott) Bed-Stuy Is Burning follows four longtime friends as they navigate love, commitment, and forgiveness while the world around them changes beyond recognition.

New York City is still regaining its balance in the years following 9/11, when four twenty-somethings—Tess, Tazio, David, and Angelica—meet in a bar, each yearning for something: connection, recognition, a place in the world, a cause to believe in. Nearly fifteen years later, as their city recalibrates in the wake of the 2016 election, their bond has endured—but almost everything else has changed.

As freshmen at Cooper Union, Tess and Tazio were the ambitious, talented future of the art world—but by thirty-six, Tess is married to David, the mother of two young boys, and working as an understudy on Broadway. Kind and steady, David is everything Tess lacked in her own childhood—but a recent freak accident has left him with befuddling symptoms, and she’s still adjusting to her new role as caretaker.

Meanwhile, Tazio—who once had a knack for earning the kind of attention that Cooper Union students long for—has left the art world for a career in creative branding and politics. But in December 2016, fresh off the astonishing loss of his candidate, Tazio is adrift, and not even his gorgeous and accomplished fiancée, Angelica, seems able to get through to him. With tensions rising on the national stage, the four friends are forced to face the reality of their shared histories, especially a long-ago betrayal that has shaped every aspect of their friendship.

Elegant and perceptive, The Body Politic explores the meaning of commitment, the nature of forgiveness, the way that buried secrets will always find their way to the surface, and how all of it can shift—and eventually erupt—over the course of a life.

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Brian Platzer is the author of BED-STUY IS BURNING (’17) and THE BODY POLITIC (’20) from Atria/Simon & Schuster, and THE TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF HOMEWORK (’20) from Avery/Penguin Random House. Brian has an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and a BA from Columbia University. His writing has appeared often in the New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well as in the New York Times, The New Republic, Salon, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife and two young sons in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, teaches middle school English in Manhattan, and suffers from chronic dizziness.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.