Last night, at the Tattered Cover in LoDo, Denver author Nick Arvin talked about his latest novel, The Reconstructionist. He was introduced by David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) who said he thought Tattered Cover is way too modest and should bill itself as one of the best bookstores in the US – that brought applause from the crowd.
It seemed to me that Nick Arvin spoke on the premise that everyone in the room was a close friend and had read the book. Well, I didn’t qualify in either area and when he sort of jumped right into it, I felt like I lagged a little. I did finally figure out most of it (I’d read the 3/4 page review in the Denver Post last Sunday) but it took me several minutes. The story is that Ellis wants to work with Boggs who reconstructs traffic accidents and Ellis may or may not still be in love with Boggs’ wife. Arvin read an except where the two men are trying to reconstruct a scene in which hogs were hit on the road as they crossed in the dark. To do this, they take the hide of a hog and stretch it over a wooden frame which they have constructed and mounted on a piece of plywood on wheels. The dialogue for this weird, possibly gruesome project is human, contemporary and humorous. Arvin then talked about how traffic accidents often bring out “dark humor” and how reconstructionists (Arvin once was one himself) often laugh at what you and I might think of as “uugh.”
A local company uses computer graphics to re-create auto accidents and Arvin shared several of those with us….again, ugh. Then he showed a film of a man crossing the street in a crosswalk, actually being struck at quite a speed by an on-coming car. Ohmigosh, I found that jarring. Then the author introduced the man who was sitting in the front row with his wife…..none the worse for the wear, we are supposed to think, and an item in the research for the book so obviously everything turned out fine.
Nick Arvin is a young author and his wife and young son were in the audience. I’m glad I was. Now I need to read the book. Maybe I’ll even find a little humor in some of it!