Interview at The Rumpus

June 22, 2015

Over at The Rumpus, James Tate Hill asked me a few tough questions. Here’s an excerpt:

On a basic level, living without power for a few days helped rid me of any romantic notions about the serenity of life off the grid. It definitely made me reconsider some of my own first-world assumptions. The idea of escaping from social media and voluntarily getting away from it all could only come from someone like me or Ray Welter who is very privileged. Maybe that’s true too of the disdain for technology. It’s easier to hate Twitter, even as some stand-in for “technology” in general, when one has consistent electricity and clean running water in the house.

Interview at the Brooklyn Rail

June 3, 2015

Owen King interviewed me for the Brooklyn Rail. Here’s an excerpt:

Rail: Late in the novel, Ray has the misfortune to find himself dragged into a werewolf hunt. How do you feel about werewolf hunting? Is it wrong?

Ervin: On one hand, it’s very important to maintain these traditions while we can, right? There are certainly cultural and perhaps spiritual—if not dietary—reasons that werewolf hunting can prove beneficial. In many places, it’s a matter of cultural identity. We cannot understate the value of reconnecting with these traditional ways of life while we still can. On the other hand, however, given the depleted populations not only in Scotland but worldwide I do understand and appreciate the opposition to this supposedly “barbaric” practice. It’s a tough call, and you’re putting me on the spot here, but I suppose that—yes—I am ultimately in favor of the limited and carefully controlled hunting of werewolves.

New York Times Book Review

May 30, 2015

The 5/31/15 issue of the New York Times Book Review includes an extremely generous review of Burning Down George Orwell’s House.

“‘Burning Down George Orwell’s House’ is a sweet book full of delights. Since many of its best passages are rhapsodies on single malt whiskies, one is tempted to call it a wee bonny dram of a tale.” –Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review

NPR’S “Fresh Air” review of Burning Down George Orwell’s House

May 19, 2015

On May 13, Maureen Corrigan of NPR’s program “Fresh Air” reviewed Burning Down George Orwell’s House. She said:

“[A]s all good comedies do, Ervin’s novel contains a sober question at its core — in this case, whether the idea of ‘escape’ itself is just another manipulation sold to us ‘proles’ by the very same wired world that engulfs and exhausts us. Take a wild guess what George Orwell would say.”

You can read and listen to her review here.


New York Post “must-read” books

May 7, 2015

The New York Post named Burning Down George Orwell’s House one of its “must-read” books. That can be seen here.

“A satire of a satire? Ervin’s debut novel introduces us to Ray Welter, fictional Chicago ad man in existential crisis, who drops out to the Scottish isle of Jura — to rent the cottage where the father of modern satire wrote most of ‘1984.’ His plans involve a little bit of moping and a lot of the local single malt. Big Brother might not be watching him, but the island’s eccentric locals sure are and also, possibly, a werewolf. High comedy ensues as Welter tries to find himself, Orwell and the savage beast.”