Slipping-Down Life

Ann Tyler is pleased with the movie they’ve made of her novel A Slipping-Down Life.

Asked if the phrase “Hollywood would like to buy your book” was something she dreaded, the author said, “I long ago stopped imagining that a movie made from a book — mine or anyone else’s — would be the book itself come to life on the screen. It’s going to be something different, always, no matter how faithful. But yes, I think the honesty can be preserved. I’ve even seen movies that were better than the books.”

Asked why her books often feature “losers” who are redeemed, Tyler objected. “I don’t know that I’d call them losers. Maybe outsiders. And I have so many of them in my books because there are so many of them in real life. Besides which, they’re more interesting.”

She added, “When I mail off a finished manuscript, I always imagine my characters riding the train to New York. I picture them as excited, but a little scared, and I worry about whether they’re up to this. Once the book is accepted, though, I tend to forget about them. I’m like a mother cat: those kittens are grown and gone.”

The movie stars Liv Tyler and Guy Pearce. Pearce, who plays a rock star, will perform songs written by Ron Sexsmith, the man who sings such hopeful songs in a sad, sad voice.


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