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Dave Barry on his new novel, 'Insane City'
“Insane City,” the latest work by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dave Barry, is on sale today. Although the Armonk native has more than 30 books in print, the novel is his first solo work of fiction in more than a decade.
Barry told Newsday Westchester in an email interview that the reason so much time had passed since his last adult novel was that he was focused on another project.
“About 10 years ago, my friend and bandmate Ridley Pearson asked me if I'd be interested in writing a prequel to Peter Pan with him. I said sure, thinking this would be one quick book. We wound up writing the “Peter and the Starcatchers” series, which consisted of five books and a bunch of other stuff [including the books’ adaptation into a 2012 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical]. So I got sidetracked from writing adult fiction for a while.“
His novel is set in Florida, his place of residence. “Insane City” is about a character named Seth Weinstein who is getting married in a destination wedding in Miami, and the colorful misadventures of him and his friends -- who’ve dubbed themselves The Groom Posse -- in the lead-up to Weinstein’s wedding.
The novel has been receiving positive reviews, with a few referencing the similarities between the novel and “The Hangover” movies.
Barry said he doesn’t mind the comparisons. " 'The Hangover' is a very funny movie, and 'Insane City' is, I hope, a funny book," he said. "But other than the fact that they both involve weddings, the plots are pretty different.”
One major difference is that his book features an orangutan and snake as main characters. This choice seems to be inspired by the novel’s setting.
“[Miami] is without question the weirdest city in the United States, if not the world,” Barry said. “Weird people, weird animals, just an all-permeating weirdness.”
As for his hometown, Barry said he visits Armonk every few years, the last time being 2011. The writer, who notes on his website that he was voted “Class Clown” by the Pleasantville High School class of 1965, said he credits his parents, who he said were a “big early influence” and “very funny people,” for his sense of humor,
Barry, who will embark on a nationwide book tour to promote “Insane City,” including a Jan. 30 stop in New York City, says that he looks forward to the experience.
“I always like meeting readers,” Barry said. “I'll try to make them laugh.”