After running from New York to get away from sadness that plagued the city in the years after the towers fell, and the callous nature of the people at Columbia who I thought were my friends, I found the bones for this novel in New Zealand. Shortly after arriving I fell in love with a circle of kids who were somewhere between studying and employment and had no career opportunities, no ambition, and yet were far happier than the depressed people I had met in New York who on the surface seemed to have everything. The contrast between New York and New Zealand fascinated me, and I swore that I would remain in New Zealand until I had pinned down the novel that I saw all friends running around in, inside my head. I like to think of it as a version of what might have happened if Daisy Buchanan grew some balls like Jack Kerouac, ran away to an island at the end of the world and then stumbled across Peter Pan. But the deeper she goes into this Alice in Wonderland-like experience, it starts to look more like Lord of the Flies than happiness. If these kids are so happy on this island, why do they have to take drugs every night? And what happens when you run out of places to run?
The title came from the letters of Hunter S. Thompson. He mentions it in a couple of different contexts, but my favourite might be his disappointment upon visiting Ken Kesey in the forest to find him pre-occupied and distracted by the joys of acid, creating more masterpieces like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Next. At first I thought I was stealing it from him – but then his editor from Hells Angels told me once that he got it from F. Scott Fitzgerald. So there you go. There is nothing new under the sun, as Plato wrote, and he probably got it from someone else.
While writing this I read A Midsummer Night's Dream a couple of times, and listened to The Wall by Pink Floyd a lot. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It's finally finished.