Sunday, May 22, 11am – Nation Discussion Group – Everyone Invited
The Nation Discussion Group
We will have a change of pace at next month’s Nation Discussion meeting. Our own Will Richan will do a presentation on his new novel, The Onion Man. Will writes, “The Onion Man is not a message wrapped in a piece of fiction. Only a few writers (e.g., Harriett Beecher Stowe and Upton Sinclair) got away with that.
Typically a message novel ends up with a muffled message and a not-so-good novel. The Onion Man just tries to tell a story about some real people struggling to make it in this crazy world. ”
Needless to say, Will manages to say a few things about the human condition along the way. The Onion Man is Danny Rablo, a guy who couldn’t make it as a writer and decided to join the opposition by becoming a scam artist in the guise of a literary agent. His philosophy of life can be summed up this way: “There are two kinds of people in the world, suckers and the people who make suckers out of them, and I don’t plan to be
Everything is going swimmingly for Danny, separating Vonnegut wannabees from their life savings, until a writer with real talent, Earl Magnus, shows up among his intended victims. Earl’s unfolding manuscript – a novel-within-a-novel – ends up turning Danny’s cool world upside down, including his relationship with his live-in girlfriend- editor- cook-maidservant, Marie Foley. Now Danny the exploiter becomes Danny the
avenger, or so he thinks. Why the Onion Man? Aside from the fact that, as one bona fide agent tells Danny,
“It’s the onions like you that stink up the garden patch for the honest ones in this business,” onions are a metaphor for what happens as the book begins to peel away the layers in people’s lives.
Have a dialogue with our octogenarian Will Richan about this, his very first venture into the world of fiction. “It only took me thirty years to put this book together. Do the arithmetic: At that rate I don’t
expect to do too many more.”