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Glen David Gold shows the inside of 'Sunnyside'

May 22, 2009 |  3:05 pm

Fans of Glen David Gold's "Carter Beats the Devil" have been waiting since 2001 for his next novel. Little did they know that in 2007 he began blogging about the process of writing and editing "Sunnyside," a fiction starring Charlie Chaplin, out now. Our reviewer Richard Rayner writes:

"Sunnyside," for all its discussion of movies, and its often cinematic rendering of story, reminds us of the big way in which prose narrative differs. Film is a ruthless medium, allowing no longueurs, requiring acceleration through the story line and a strict adherence to tone. Fiction engages its audience one-on-one and relies less on control. As readers, we forgive problems in novels that, as viewers, we simply don't in films. "Sunnyside" feels, at times, like Dickensian streaky bacon, a bit of a baggy monster. But it has, too, those wonderful Dickensian qualities, namely, the capacity to startle, to thrill, to evoke laughter and, ultimately, to bring tears to the eyes. No reader who sticks for the ride is going to forget it.

Gold whittled the first draft of more than 1000 pages to the final 576, posting notes on his blog along the way,  such as:  "Too much weather. Weather should be a character and not a placeholder. I think." Today, in a very funny post on the Vroman's Bookstore blog, he writes about his stealth-blogging, and manages to connect Dick Cavett and cats in sinks. 

I recall [Cavett] describing his work habits: He would start typing something, drop his white-out under the desk accidentally, find a magazine from 1963 and six hours later realize he’d been reading articles on snowshoes instead of working.

I thought this sounded grand, apparently, as it’s exactly how I work now, except for “magazines” substitute “Internet,” a word far more seductive and dangerous.  I was made for the tangent.  Would I rather work or look at 6,000 photographs of cats sitting in sinks?

Gold is guest blogging in advance of his Vroman's reading, which happens to be scheduled for 7 p.m.  Monday, a lousy day to be anywhere but at a barbecue. He's also going to be at Skylight on Tuesday and The Hammer on Wednesday, so if you want to see him, there's no need to go to Vroman's. Unless you find blog posts, Dick Cavett and cats in sinks convincing.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Charlie Chaplin in "The Circus," 1928