Locust House Variations, A Weekly Fiction Column by Adam Gnade, FAQ

This is an FAQ for my fiction column Locust House Variations. I get a lot of questions about the storyline, how the writing here connects to the book Locust House, and what’s what and who’s who in my fictional universe. Here’s my attempt at answering them all in one batch.

Q: What is this column?

A: This column is a continuing collection of fiction writing with characters and storylines connected to my book Locust House, which also connects to my whole universe of writing.

Q: When you say “universe”…

A: All the fiction I write is part of one long storyline that spans my books and audio recordings of writing. I call the collected storyline “We Live Nowhere and Know No One.” The idea is all the books could one day be issued as one long two-foot-thick book with the audio recordings serving as a companion collection in a giant vinyl boxset. Oh, and these aren’t the actual questions. I’ve combined some and edited them for clarity.

Q: How does this universe connect with the DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad book and its sequels?

A: It doesn’t.

Q: When does the serialized novel, Who Are the Mystery Girls?, take place in relation to Locust House and to your audio collaborations with Planet B and Demetrius Antuña?

A: The Planet B collaboration, Life is the Meatgrinder that Sucks in All Things, takes place September 9th, 2001. Locust House is early 2002. Mystery Girls is Halloween Day 2002. The tape with Demetrius, Voicemails from the Great Satan, takes place right after Trump’s inauguration in 2017. Those are all based around the character Agnes McCanty, but other characters from my writing show up across the storyline.

Q: Who is that playing drums on the Planet B release?

A: Gabe Serbian.

Q: Is Steven Boone the brother of Ted Boone from Caveworld?

A: Yes. Ted Boone’s also in Locust House. So is Steven.

Q: Is that Agnes on the cover of Locust House?

A: It’s a woman named Sarah Allen.

Q: Do your other Three One G books, This is the End of Something But It’s Not the End of You and Float Me Away, Floodwaters, connect to the Agnes storyline?

A: They don’t, but they connect to other characters that show up in Locust House.

Q: Is Agnes a real person?

A: No.

Q: Do we need to read your books or listen to the audio stuff in any sort of order?

A: No.

Q: Will we ever learn how Agnes’ mother died and why her father is in jail?

A: Yes.

Q: What did Michael the Bear die of?

A: Heart attack.

Q: If we like the Locust House Variations cycle, who else would you recommend we read?

A: Try Ocean Voung, Sandra Cisneros, Nathaniel Kennon Perkins, Jessie Lynn McMains, Ana Castillo, Roberto Bolaño, Julia Eff, Juan Rulfo, Louise Erdrich, Sam Pink, Bart Schaneman, Juliet Escoria, and Jesmyn Ward. Keep an eye out for Jared Thomas Friend.

Q: Why write about San Diego when you don’t live there anymore?

A: I see it clearer when I’m away. When I’m home I can’t write.

Q: What does Agnes look like?

A: She has fizzy blonde hair she generally straightens, except in Mystery Girls. She’s very pale and just over five foot tall. She looks like anybody you might see anywhere.

Q: Is Agnes’ hardcore band Pale of Shit a real band?

A: No.

Q: Is the Mystery Girls book a metaphor for something?

A: Yes.

Adam Gnade