When I called Patrick Wensink—novelist, essayist, music obsessive—in his bedroom in Louisville, Kentucky, I expected him to speak in an indeterminate Kentuckyian twang. I forgot he’s an Ohioan, born and raised. And how could I? Several characters in his latest novel, Broken Piano for President, are named after towns in the Buckeye State. Perhaps I was distracted by the name of the band Lothario Speedwagon and the crackerjack dialogue throughout. Wensink is a humane absurdist, if that makes sense; he’s cruel and kind in his depiction of American flyovercapes typically regarded with ironic disgust by other fictionists.
We talked about Kenny Rogers, drinking and writing, whether or not to use outlines, and twee book arts. In the second half of the interview, Wensink’s eight-month-old son Walter makes an appearance.
Visit Patrick at patrickwensink.com.