Adam Rapp's lastest book, Decelerate Blue, is a queer romance set in a dystopian world where life moves so quickly that no one has time to think or read. In it, 15 year-old Angela, finds herself recruited by an underground resistance and falling in love with Gladys, a like-minded refugee from the dizzying world above. But will the Guarantee Committee - the people responsible for maintaining the status quo - bring Angela's new world crashing down just as she arrives?
With his latest work now out on bookshelves, we asked the author where he likes to go when it's time to decelerate.
1. Where did you go on your last trip?
Sydney, Australia. I recently spent four months there working on a new play.
2. What was your favorite memory from it?
There’s a coastal hike between Coogee and Bondi Beach. It spans about four miles and the view is absolutely breathtaking. I think I did that hike three times a week while I was there, even if it rained. I still have dreams about it.
3. Where is your favorite place in the world to go when you need to decelerate?
An empty basketball court where I can shoot around by myself for a few hours. Nothing clears the mind better than getting off a few hundred jumpshots.
4. Where is the bluest place you've ever been?
A small town called Cassis, which is in the south of France, right on the Mediterranean, which has the clearest, bluest, most buoyant water I’ve ever been in.
5. What place have you visited that seemed most dystopian to you?
Peekskill, New York. Some years ago I spent an afternoon there trying to find the Accountant who was doing my taxes. Burnt out buildings. Guns going off in the streets. Broken bottles everywhere. It felt war-torn. My taxi driver refused to stop at a particular stoplight because he said he didn’t want to get held up.
6. If you could actually travel into one of your works, which would you choose to visit?
I suppose I would like to live in the old Victorian house which serves as the primary setting for my novel, Know Your Beholder. I’ve never actually lived in a house. I grew up in an apartment complex in Joliet, Illinois, and I’ve lived in the same apartment in the East Village for the past 26 years. I like the idea of a house acquiring history, absorbing secrets, and containing the mysteries of life, love, death, joy, etc. I think that old Victorian in the middle of Illinois would be fascinating to spend a few nights in.
7. Your favorite theater to watch a play?
The Barrow Street Theater in the West Village. I’ve seen so many great plays there, from Tracy Letts’ Bug to David Cromer’s production of Our Town to Annie Baker’s The Flick. It’s also where my production of Red Light Winter had a long run. So there are lots of good vibes and fond memories there.
8. Your favorite local place to find/read/buy a book?
It used to be St. Mark’s Bookshop, before it was forced to move to Alphabet City, where it unfortunately went out of business. It had a great run in the East Village, first on St. Mark’s Place and then for many years on Stuyvesant Street and Third Avenue. I used to go in there and just hang out. I’d always find something unexpected, a great novel that had slipped through the cracks or a book of poems I could get lost in. Now I prefer to go to McNally Jackson on Prince Street, in SoHo. It’s one of the few great bookstores left in New York besides The Strand.
9. Most literary city?
Paris. The legacy of ex-pat American writers, from Hemingway to Gertrude Stein to Henry Miller, is undeniable. There’s that great English bookstore, Shakespeare & Co., in the Latin Quarter, where Beckett purportedly transcribed Joyce’s Ulysses. As soon as you walk in you feel the history. The stacks of books seem to defy gravity and you can find weird, European editions of your favorite titles there. There’s a room upstairs where they used to let backpackers spend the night on the cheap. Paris is a city you can get lost in. It’s is also the most romantic city in the world. And the loneliest.
10. Where will you go on your next adventure?
I’d like to return to the south of France, where I lived (in Cassis) for five months back in ’97-’98. I stayed in a villa a few hundred feet from the Mediterranean. There’s something about that body of water that unlocks the imagination. I got more work done in those five months than during any other period of my life. And I’ve never slept better.
To get your own copy of Decelerate Blue, click here. Go.