After years on the run, Burke is desperate to return to his native New York, the only way he can reconnect with his outlaw "family." But to survive in their part of the City, where reputation is everything, Burke must take major risks to reestablish his presence. So when a Mafia man contacts him about the murder-as-message of his sixteen-year-old daughter-the offspring of what he calls an "outside the tribe" affair that he must keep secret at all costs-Burke's depleted bankroll persuades him to step out of the shadows and do something he hasn't done in years ... actually investigate a crime. Chat with Andrew Vachss about the newest installment in the Burke series.
Detroit, Michigan: Mr. Vachss, my sister and I have actively pursued your work and plan to enroll in the battle as soon as possible. My question: are you working on a specific project in Oregon that you can share/explain? e.g., a training program perhaps for new recruits?
Andrew Vachss: I am working on a specific project, but it's not so much in Oregon as based in the Pacific Northwest. This forum isn't appropriate to give a detailed account, but I can tell you that our focus is on violent juvenile offenders and some much more viable solutions than have been offered to date.
Silver Bay Minn: Will you continue to write the BURKE stories? And is he and his tribe based on real people?
Andrew Vachss: I will continue to write the Burke stories so long as there is a demand for them. Only a terminal narcissist would set out to write a 14-book series, but so long as I am loyally supported, I'm going to be loyal to my supporters.
As far as the characters being based on real people, the simple answer is yes.
Andrew Vachss: We love the CD too, especially the results. We were able to donate a really significant sum to our favorite organization, Licensed for Life. You can find out about it by going to our Web site. We do plan another CD as a soundtrack to a future novel, and it's eeither going to be blues or doo-wop.
Andrew Vachss: I think it's true that there are people who simply shirk their responsibility as mandated reporters. I think there's another component to the equation. It's really difficult to ask people to step forward if they believe they believe they're going to be standing alone. Unless and until America supports its teachers and its social workers in all the appropriate ways, including with compensation, training, supervision, and respect, America cannot criticize those within the professions that don't live up to their ideal.
Andrew Vachss: I don't know. I literally don't know.
Comment from Andrew Vachss: It's not impossible, though.
Andrew Vachss: I respect your grief, and even respect any desire you may have for vengeance. It's very easy for someone at a distance to pontificate. It's much harder to live the pain as you are. But that being said, there's no evidence that the death penalty deters crime. There IS evidence that the death penalty has been racially biased, economically biased, class biased, and the old adage that no one can name a rich man who was executed still holds true. But most important of all, reality is that the death penalty in America takes about 14 years to actually come into play in any given case. The death penalty has made media darlings out of serial killers. The death penalty has caused a tremendous drain of legal resourses, which could be applied to protect our children. If this humaoid to whom you refer had not been given the death penalty and simply been given life without parole, he couldn't get anyone's attention. I think when you add all this up, and you accept the reality that it's possible to make a fatal mistake, and the further reality that very few countries that are not fascist actually use the death penalty, and that many states don't, it's too much like a lottery to me to call it justice.
Comment from Andrew Vachss: But I honestly confess that if I were standing where you stand now, I would be asking that the predator be put to death.
Andrew Vachss: I'm of the opinion that in appropriate cases, it's completely logical to pursue child sexual abuse cases even decades after they occured, but this is not a slogan. It requires a case-by-case analysis. Without knowing more of the specific facts in any given case, I couldn't say whether I believe personally or professionally that pursuing the matter is the right thing to do.
Andrew Vachss: Those are good strong questions! I think the key to maintaining freshness is to start real and stay real. So, for example, in the books the characters age. You have a different perspective at 48 than you did at 30. Another way to keep it fresh is to maintain my reputation for revealing truth about what's going on out here, truth that is always eventually vindicated by headlines. And I promise you that the material in Only Child, which will sound to some people like a horror movie, is in fact going on even as we speak.
As you know from reading the new book, the loss of Pansy is still haunting Burke; he even violated one of his cardinal rules about never marking his own body in order to have a memory of Pansy always with him. I believe that Burke's life will parallel my own, and that after a period of mourning he will have another dog. But not soon.
Andrew Vachss: If I can separate myself from Burke, I think the honest answer is that Burke has never sought to make animpact on child abuse. Burke seeks to make an impact on child abusers in a very individualistic way, but Burke is not out to change a system that he holds responsible for his own abuse. Burke's only interests are in survival and revenge.
Andrew Vachss: I think your counselor needs treatment. I myself find it bizarre that a victim of child sexual abuse would be dismissed as grandiose because of his choice of painkiller, and I think that failing to deal with the initial source of trauma is a guaranteed loser.
Comment from Andrew Vachss: I believe you should absolutely follow your own instincts on this matter.
Andrew Vachss: I certainly have been involved in cases involving priests and rabbis and ministers and elders. I've been involved in cases involving any religious organization you can imagine. I specifically wrote about a church that was not named in False Allegations, and I even referred to the safe houses for pedophile priests without giving their address in Dead and Gone. But this area has not been fully explored, and I agree that this is a place for Burke to go in the future.
Andrew Vachss: This is something I could literally write a book about, but the short form answer is that the motivation is either psychiatric, as was the sniper in Blossom, or political, and if I had to sit here and bet at this moment with the limited amount of data, I would bet the latter.
Andrew Vachss: The stories are motivated by events as I experience them. When I come across a phenomenon that is not public knowledge, such as the type of "movies" which drive the plot of Only Child, that's what creates a new book. I've never had a master plan for the series, because this is a Darwinistic business, and I can write books only as long as the books are supported. Therefore, I have to make each book as though it might be the last.
Andrew Vachss: Yes and yes. I have two new projects coming out. One is called Hard Looks, which is the stories from Born Bad adapted to comic format, as well as a brand new series that I'm starting in this book. The cover, which I believe should be hanging in the Guggenheim, was done by my brother Geof, and he illustrated the new series start I just referred to. We're also going to be reissuing Another Chance To Get It Right with brand new material and a brand new cover, both illustrated by Geof Darrow. That should be out in November.
Andrew Vachss: The elimination of the incest exception law began right in this chatroom. During a USATODAY.com chat a questioner asked a very simple question: "What can I do"? I told him that if he was serious he should send me an e-mail at the Web site and we'd talk. That person's name was Grier Weeks, a brilliant political operative, and the person who eliminated the incest exception in North Carolina was not me, but Grier Weeks and a very dedicated team of volunteers. We have become enormously energized by this victory; we do believe we will achieve it in other states; and we do believe that now for the first time that the political action committee that I've been calling for for many years, a group as focused on children as the NRA is on guns and just as dedicated, is now an actual possibility.
Andrew Vachss: I really admire the thought that you put into that question, because you've penetrated right to the heart of how I feel about the work that I do. I began this work because I saw that children were not being adequately represented. I've always been terrified at the possibility of failure, because I know the consequences, and I cannot accept failure on behalf of an abused child. Finally, as you apparently intuited, yes, I've stepped in and taken over cases when I saw that the case was headed for a disaster, and I would do it again.
|VACHSS BIO PROSA ARTIKEL INTERVIEWS FAQ UPDATES/NEWSLETTER|
|MISSION DOWNLOADS GALERIE HUNDE EISGOTT RESSOURCEN|
Suche auf The Zero || Technik || Verlinken || Email an The Zero || Startseite
The Zero © 2000-2004 Andrew Vachss. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.