Meet Edward Stanton. Again.
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Praise for Edward Adrift
“Craig Lancaster is a perfect novelist. Not only do his characters and stories seep into your heart with incredible longevity, but he manages to get them there in an unfussy, pure manner. He’s that skilled of a writer. It’s hard to know who I adore more: Lancaster’s character Edward Stanton or Lancaster himself for creating him. It’s rare that I get so attached and invested in a fictional person, but I find that I think about Edward quite often. It brings me indescribable happiness to be able to return to Edward in Edward Adrift, with his endearing eccentricities and his capacity to teach us all more than expected. He’s a reminder that we might miss out on spectacular people should we fail to look past societal expectations of what friends should and shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t miss Edward for the world.” — Jessica Park, author of Flat-Out Love
“Edward Stanton is back! And he returns in a darkly funny novel that’s frequently lyrical and exhibits an uncanny grace. Once again, Craig Lancaster blesses us with a glimpse of universal emotions, and how the turnings of a human heart can be simple and complex at the same time.” — Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Sourtoe Cocktail Club
“Edward Adrift is that rarest of things: a sequel that is actually better than its predecessor. In the case of Craig Lancaster’s new book, that’s saying a lot because I loved 600 Hours of Edward with all the passionate joy of a botanist discovering a new butterfly. That first novel possessed a distinct voice told by a unique character who immediately endeared himself to the reader. Now, in Edward Adrift, Lancaster deepens our understanding of 42-year-old Edward Stanton, who is plowing through the world in spite of (or perhaps because of) his Asperger’s. Edward Adrift is richer, funnier, and even more moving than our first encounter with the man obsessed with time and temperature.” — David Abrams, author of Fobbit
Q&A with Craig Lancaster
Q: You’ve said more than once that you didn’t expect to be revisiting Edward Stanton after 600 HOURS OF EDWARD. What brought him back?
The crushing weight of time. For nearly four years and through three iterations of 600 HOURS, I’ve been talking about Edward and introducing readers to him. I’ve answered countless questions about him and about what he’s up to these days. After years of saying his story was told, I finally got curious enough to walk through his front door again. And I was wrong. He had more to say and do.
A big key was letting go of the notion that this is a sequel in the way we think of movie franchises or serial novels. Edward’s stories aren’t big dumb comedies, but damn, I really didn’t want to write the literary equivalent of “Caddyshack II.” If I wrote about Edward again, I wanted it to be better than the first book. While this is a sequel in the strict definition, I view it more as a continuation of a character. Readers who haven’t met Edward can pick up his story where this book starts.
Q: The road trip has a long and prized legacy in American literature, and Edward takes a memorable one. Any particular inspiration?
Edward’s a rigid guy—although he’s in scattered crisis as the book opens—so the road gave me the broader palette that perhaps the character himself lacked. As I unhinged him from his narrow life, I also wanted to avoid the usual tropes of the road—a hitchhiker, the unwitting detour to some unforeseen place, etc.
Q: Did opening up the physical world of the story open up greater comic possibilities?
I don’t know if it was the road so much as the other characters who populate his trip. Kyle, the little boy from the first book, is older and less manageable. Key first-book characters have left, while new ones have moved in. And Edward has to deal with them while detached from the life at home that is his anchor. Humor seemed to follow.
Q: Have you met any real-life Edwards, and if so, how have you been affected?
I often get told, either directly by people with Asperger’s or by their loved ones, that I’ve conjured a character who looks and behaves like them. It’s beautiful, humbling praise.
Q: Without giving anything major away, can you tell us something about how Edward changes from the first book to the second?
For the first time in Edward’s forty-two-year-old life, he has to confront the possibility of sex in a real way. And this may sound odd, but it was emotional for me to write. It just wasn’t the memory of how fearsome that moment can be, but a real, abiding concern for whether he was going to be all right. The scene unfolded naturally, without overt guidance. I’m proud of how my boy handled himself.
Q: Now what will you say to people who ask if they’ll see Edward again?
I’ll never say never again, that’s for sure.