Friday, November 4, 2011

The Man Behind Dave Robicheaux James Lee Burke talks about violence, writing, littering, alcoholism, liberalism and bestsellers.

An awesome article/interview from 2002 my mother dug up, thanks Ma!


June 5, 2002

James Lee Burke has seen and heard enough to fill a book. Actually, make that 22 books.

Burke is best known for his novels featuring Dave Robicheaux, an Iberia Parish detective who sees the world in black and white, a man who is haunted at times by his own alcoholism and his desire to do right in a world ruled by insanity.

At 65 years old, Burke is a demure man with small, penetrating eyes and a disarming smile. His laughter sounds as if it’s rattling itself free from his bones. There are times he laughs so hard it ends in a coughing fit.

He writes about man’s depravity and his grace, his beauty and his vulgarity. His novels have engaged millions of readers all over the world, propelling him to the top of The New York Times’ bestseller list. But for the man who lives in New Iberia, with a second home in Missoula, Mont., life hasn’t always been a gravy train. The ride to the top has been riddled with detours and unexpected delays.

The Times recently sat down with Burke at his home along the banks of Bayou Teche. He was preparing for a national book tour in support of his latest Robicheaux novel, Jolie Blon’s Bounce. In his office, bathed in sunlight filtered through an oak tree outside of his bay window, he gave some insight into the man behind Dave Robicheaux.

Before drawing any comparisons between Robicheaux and himself, Burke points out the differences between the two men. He says of Robicheaux, “The character defects are mine, none of the qualities.”

He laughs so hard he’s headed for a coughing fit.


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