Wagner, Daniel 1974-
WAGNER, Daniel 1974-
PERSONAL: Born 1974. Hobbies and other interests: Snowboarding.
CAREER: Musician, construction worker, and author.
A Movie—and a Book (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: David Wagner has spent much of his life in Switzerland, where he has worked as a builder and musician, fitting in time for snowboarding in the mountains whenever he can. He wrote his first book, A Movie—and a Book, while in his mid-twenties with no intention of publishing it. However, one of Wagner's friends read the manuscript, felt it was worth publishing, and mailed it to a literary agent. In a very short time, it was accepted by the publishing company Knopf in New York City.
An experimental piece of fiction, A Movie—and a Book is a "convoluted, philosophically dense novella," as one Publishers Weekly writer described it. The plot of the story—the characters include a writer named Jim; his game-designer and ad-writing brother, Andy; members of Jim's family; and Liz and Lou, two people stranded on an island—hints that the brothers are part of some type of secret mission and that they are responsible for Liz and Lou's predicament. But the plot is not nearly as important as the theme, which has to do with the question of whether or not people have free will.
Writing style is another important component of Wagner's plot, and varies between conventional fiction prose and scenes that are written more like a movie script. These transitions emphasize the idea that viewing life as a movie can help provide distance and perspective, while viewing it as a book can help one understand what is happening better. A Kirkus Reviews contributor suggested that readers should not try to figure out the story, but instead should sit back and enjoy a book that has "no meaning, but [is] easy to read, even sort of fun, like a comic book." Library Journal critic Edward Keane commented that A Movie—and a Book "rather bravely examines who or what is responsible for the unendingly fascinating narratives in which we all find ourselves."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2004, review of A Movie—and a Book, p. 422.
Library Journal, June 15, 2004, Edward Keane, review of A Movie—and a Book, p. 66.
Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2004, Mark Rozzo, review of A Movie—and a Book, p. R10.
Publishers Weekly, May 3, 2004, review of A Movie—and a Book, p. 166.
Daniel Wagner Web site,http://www.danielwagner.info (December 20, 2004).*