David Antonelli was born in Chicago in 1963. He was educated at The University of Alberta, Oxford, Caltech, and MIT. In 2010 he published his first novel The Narcissist, followed by The False Man in 2011. His film credits include Inbetween (2008), which was nominated for awards at several international film festivals, Finding Rudolf Steiner (Documentary, Official Selection Calgary International Film Festival 2006, now available on DVD), Lucifer Gnosis (short), Forever (16 mm short), Dreaming (16 mm short, named in top three at the Montreal International Student Film Festival, 1989), La Toyson D’Or (16 mm short), and The Chalk Elephant (16 mm short). He currently lives in Cardiff and teaches at Lancaster University.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first serious novel I ever read was The Brothers Karamazoff by Dostoevsky. I am rereading it now and it is having the same effect as it had the first time. I love the way the characters seem to jump off the page and constantly surprise you as the novel progresses - seeming to turn on a dime and completely renounce what they were preaching a few chapters earlier! When I first read it I was a teenager and it changed my life - it made me want to accomplish something similar and opened up a whole new life for me, the life in which I could possibly become a writer or film director rather than a scientist, as I always thought I would be.
How do you approach cover design?
I design the cover pretty much the same as a musician would design the cover of an LP or CD. It always seemed strange to me that in the literary world book covers change with every new printing. Who could imagine if Sgt. Peppers got a new cover every time Capitol re-released it? I think the cover should be an intimate part of the impression you are trying to create and should stick with the novel forever.
In terms of the actual creative process it depends on the novel but I usually have an idea of what I want in the back of my head but then suddenly I can come up with a moment of inspiration and come up with something even better...as an example I wanted a cover for The False Man that showed images of LA in a kind of faded nostalgic way as it deals in part with the effect of the past on our lives, but it also had to suggest excess and duplicity - I originally wanted multiple images but one day at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills over breakfast the sun fell across the water of the swimming pool such that you could see perfectly the reflection of the pool side dining area and background tiles. Perfect, I thought! So I ran up to my room to get my camera and I was lucky enough that the reflection was still there when I got back. It really was perfect because the reflection suggests duplicity, the setting conjures up the image of a morning after a decadent LA party, and the tiles in the background bring to mind a recurrent theme n the novel involving the game Tetris.
Laura Chain lost her virginity on New Years Eve 1999 and was christened "The First Woman of the Twenty-First Century" by her now deceased punk rock singer boyfriend Johnny Enzyme. In her early-thirties and living in New York, she feels the magic of her youth fading away, until she meets John Halo, a mysterious British agent who gives her a chance to discover her life’s true meaning.
The Black Tide is the story of a young man who becomes involved in a love triangle with two sisters as he pursues his career as a recording artist. The novel explores how time changes relationships such that powerful experiences become irrevocable. It is Flaubert's Sentimental Education meets Goethe's Elective Affinities against a background of the electronic music scene in New York and London.
A young man accepts an offer to assist three hilarious and chilling criminals in the perfect ideological crime: the theft and destruction of a series of paintings with no motive but to elevate the robbers to greater spiritual heights. After a series of alienating experiences he agrees to partake in the crime. His life becomes increasingly unhinged until the novel reaches its tragic conclusion.
Written in rich evocative prose it is at once a tragic love story and timeless exploration of edgy misunderstood youth coming to terms with the contradictions of arid adult society, The Frozen Ocean is Rebel Without a Cause scripted by Dostoevsky and Mishima with a soundtrack by Joy Division!
Set during the Croatian War of Independence, The Mountain is the story of a journalist and his wife who try to escape the ravages of war while trying to rebuild trust after her yearlong affair. After abandoning her on suspicion of further infidelity, he encounters a massacre in a small village and then wonders if his distrust has endangered her life and so tries desperately to find and save her.
A surreal comedy of outrageous proportions, The Candidate is a novel about a naive and likeable con man who bluffs his way through academia on his way to an assault on the US Presidency. Like Woody Allen's Zelig with the logic of South Park, it lampoons our pathological thirst for success and fear of failure. With a huge cast of hilarious characters The Candidate is guaranteed to entertain.
A man travels to the mysterious world of post communist Budapest and falls in love with a beautiful young waitress. He rapidly becomes the center of two conflicting love triangles but his repeated visits only deepen his sense of confusion. Death in Venice for Gen. X, The Forest is a sumptuous novella that does for modern Budapest what Hemmingway and Fitzgerald did for Paris in the twenties.
Inbetween is the story of a bomb maker and aspiring painter who is trying to escape from his involvements with a terrorist organization. The novel explores his relationships with a young slacker couple in London and his terrorist former girl friend, as he tries to strike back at the terrorist leader while also fulfilling his obsession to meet a mysterious pop singer.
A man is falsely tried for murder escapes from prison in Mexico and crosses the desert in search of a new identity. He reemerges in LA as a rock journalist and the fun begins when he falls for a woman who threatens to uncover his past. The False Man is a sexy and explosive comedy as much as it is an exploration of the modern culture of lies and a grand literary celebration of LA.
A man returns from Algeria in search of his lover only to have her vanish mysteriously just days later. Refusing to admit that she is dead, he believes that the secret of her disappearance lies in the works of the French surrealist poet Antonin Artaud. The Narcissist is a stylish Film Noir classic dreamed up by Rimbaud and written by Celine, a work of literary fiction that defies categorization.