Author Reading: Salvador Plascencia

I’ve been thinking a lot about author readings lately–those that work (hi, Marjane!), those that don’t (hi, Jhumpa!), and those in between (um , everyone.) I guess it’s because I’ll be going on tour in a few weeks in support of my own book, and, well, I’m getting a little nervous. I imagine people taking time off from whatever else they could be doing just to come and listen to stuff I wrote a couple of years ago in a coffee shop while listening to Rachid Taha and of course I want them to have a good time.

So this article about Salvador Plascencia’s reading in San Francisco got my interest. Instead of just going through a chapter of The People of Paper, Plascencia had members of the audience read different parts of the narrative (one reader per character).

The overall effect is joyful, magical, darkly humorous — and pretty confusing.

“One editor told me this was the most confusing book she ever read,” chuckles Plascencia after the reading, as he sits behind a small desk and prepares to sign books for a line of readers that snakes along the bookstore’s wall. “That was, as she was turning me down.”

“Pretty confusing” is still a better effect than “boring,” which is what most readings are like these days.