Friday, October 05, 2012

Ghost stories

Devin McKinney's Magic Circles is one of the best books about the Beatles I've ever read. His latest book is The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda (St. Martin's), which just came out on Tuesday. 

There's a brief but fascinating interview with Dev up at, with Joshua Glenn asking: Why Fonda, why now?

I see exceptionalism as a heinous doctrine. I don’t believe Henry Fonda was an exceptionalist. He took for granted in his work that American democracy is yet to be perfected, and that it’s the patriot’s obligation to critique it, poke it, watchdog it, be suspicious of it. In the years I was writing this book, that seemed to me the rarest gift an American artist could give, and Fonda gave it consistently over the course of nearly 50 years on the screen. He made me feel pride and strength in American capability in times when it seemed so much of our capability was only selfish, lazy, cruel, murderous. I trust that dimension of his relevance will come through to readers who have felt the same frustrations.


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