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Charles Bock’s Masterly Debut Novel Mixes Incandescent Prose with Devious Humor

 

Beautiful Children
Beautiful Children
by Charles Bock


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Authorlink Audio Interview
With Charles Bock

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An Authorlink Exclusive AUDIO Interview with Charles Bock
Author of Beautiful Children (Random House, January 2008)

February 2008

One Saturday night in Las Vegas, twelve-year-old Newell Ewing goes out with a friend and doesn’t come home. In the aftermath of his disappearance, his mother, Lorraine, and father, Lincoln, navigate the mystery of what’s become of their son. Newell’s vanishing reverberates through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways.

The people of Beautiful Children are “urban nomads,” each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, every one of them searching for salvation and barreling toward destruction, weaving their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.

It took Charles Bock more than a decade to write his brilliant debut novel, released in January 2008 by Random House.

Bock, now hailed as a major new talent, talks to Authorlink about the arduous struggle to finish the novel, working “crappy” part-time jobs and completing numerous re-writes to at last become published. With each new revision he became more aware of what the story needed to be. “I was trying to be a good enough writer and thinker . . . and to be patient enough to finish it,” he tells Authorlink. “Each writer has to find their own voice.”  

The author was born and raised in Las Vegas, the setting for Beautiful Children. He comes from a family of pawnbrokers who've operated pawn shops in downtown Las Vegas for more than thirty years. His upbringing was a source of inspiration for the novel.