Stuart Says

NEW YORK — He’s no Austin Powers, but Stuart David, novelist and former bassist for Belle & Sebastian, is certainly an international man of mystery. And the self-proclaimed hermit and Glaswegian author, whose debut novel, "Nalda Said,"...

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David: I think that love can overcome anything, but I also think that to a certain extent, it’s temporary. Falling in love as an adult often shows you how things can be, and for a period you can live that way.

WWD: There are rumors that you’ve disappeared. Have you?

David: That was all to do with my most recently published novel, "The Peacock Manifesto." I continued the narrative of it beyond the end of the book, trying to use some nontraditional ways of telling the story — like the press and the Internet, and live events. And then we carried the characters on through into the last Looper album a bit, too.

WWD: How do you compare to the reclusive character in "Nalda Said"?

David: What I often do with my characters is just magnify some aspects of my own personality, and then totally disregard others, and then put that into a situation and see what would happen. I have my own shyness and my own paranoia, I think. But it’s just a case of how that’s balanced with other things.

WWD: What purpose does Aunt Nalda serve in the story?

David: I suppose the most obvious thing that Nalda represents would be any form of organized belief system, that is passed on and not questioned. Whether that be a belief in a particular political party, or in a particular organized religion. Anything like that. I think everyone has had a Nalda-like influence in their life. I think everyone believes certain things that whoever brought them up passed on, that might not be particularly true.

WWD: What’s the moral of the story?

David: I wouldn’t say my outlook is bleak, but I think quite a brutal honesty is required to overcome certain things. With ‘Nalda Said,’ it’s not so much me saying, ‘This is how things are,’ so much as, ‘This is what can happen.’ I’d hope it’s more a cautionary tale than anything else.
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