Many years before he wrote Hystopia, his sole novel to date, David Means confessed he had written and put aside ‘two monster manuscripts. One is seven hundred something pages.’

Length should not be an issue since the American Means is a writer of much praised short stories. He initially resisted the pressure to write longer form fiction: ‘It seems stupid to me to just make yourself work in a completely different genre if you’re already doing what you want to do.’ He also has a propensity to refine his stories to the point that ‘Sometimes I’ll chisel away and have nothing at the end.’ The urge to write came when his father died and he told himself ‘You have a lot of ideas, just start talking… maybe one out of every 10 sentences will be interesting.’

David Means

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