New Interviews with Caleb Carr

Caleb CarrNew interviews with Caleb Carr appeared earlier this week on the August 20 episode of The New York Times Close Up and Literary Hub. In The New York Times Close Up interview, which can be viewed around 10 minutes into the episode (view here), Mr. Carr discusses his new novel Surrender, New York which was released on August 23 by Random House. In the Literary Hub interview, Mr. Carr discusses growing up with the Beats, living on Misery Mountain, plans for his continuation of the Alienist series, and his new novel Surrender, New York. An excerpt from the Literary Hub interview appears below along with a link to the full article.

Now Carr has published his first thriller in 15 years with Surrender, New York, a contemporary story set in the fictional Burgoyne County in upstate New York, full of ominous mountain passes and bankrupt factory towns. Returning to the theme of murdered children, several abandoned teenagers have turned up dead and a serial killer may be at work. Dr. Trajan Jones, a bitingly cynical profiler and a 21st century disciple of Kreizler, has been called in to consult on the case.

“I had planned to write a simple book about these dead children,” said the 61-year-old Carr in a telephone interview from his stone house on the top of Misery Mountain, in Renssalaer County, New York. “I was going through these New York State documents, and I kept finding references to ‘throwaway children,'” where in post-2008 Great Recession America, some desperate parents have been abandoning their children and even moving out of state. “It turns out it is a widespread problem. That is the pitfall of research. It takes you places you didn’t plan to go. It stopped being a simple book.”

Continue reading at Literary Hub.

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Columbia Spectator Reports on Treasures of New York

Caleb Carr on Treasures of New YorkWLIW21 premiered the Columbia University episode of Treasures of New York on Sunday night, exploring the 260-year history of the New York institution. Caleb Carr was included among the guests on the episode, and was interviewed about the role Columbia played in the formation of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. The Columbia Spectator has since reported on the making of the episode, with production assistant Sarah MacEachron revealing some behind the scenes details in which Mr. Carr is mentioned:

As part of the production process, MacEachron conducted an interview with Caleb Carr, the son of Lucien Carr, a former Columbia student and a Beat Generation writer who murdered David Kammerer in Riverside Park in 1944.

“I ended up getting in touch with him [Carr], and so we drove to upstate New York and met him in this very cool house where Ginsberg and Kerouac all used to hang out,” MacEachron said.

In the episode, we see Mr. Carr using a typewriter that presumably belonged to one of the Beats, and he discusses the Kammerer murder that took place while his father, Lucien Carr, was still a student at Columbia.

The episode can now be streamed online via the Treasures of New York website.

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Caleb Carr Speaks Out About Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your DarlingsTo date, I have avoided discussing the much publicised independent film Kill Your Darlings on 17th Street. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, and Michael C. Hall, the film claims to document the “true story” of the founding of the Beat Generation and focuses on “the murder that united the Beats,” 1944 murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr (Caleb Carr’s father). As none of the Carr family were consulted by the film’s research team and nobody from the family commented on the film following its release, I had made the decision to avoid discussing the film on the 17th Street blog, which I have always endeavored to keep strictly dedicated to Caleb Carr’s professional work and interviews. However, with the release of the film on DVD in a few weeks, Mr. Carr has recently spoken out about the film’s version of events, describing it as a “terribly inaccurate reading … based almost entirely on Allen Ginsberg’s versions of events.”

Rather than paraphrase Mr. Carr’s full statement here, I have included the first two paragraphs of the statement below and provide a link to its original source for visitors to continue reading.

You’re wholly right that “Kill Your Darlings” was a tired, ludicrous reading of the story of the murder case; and like all the other terribly inaccurate readings that have been put out there, it was based almost entirely on Allen Ginsberg’s versions of events. And Allen had an awful lot of reasons for revising the facts to suit a narrative that served his ego and his agenda far more effectively than it did the truth.

First off, the facts of the case: David Kammerer did not begin his obsession, as you have rightly suspected, when my father was an adult: it began when my father was only twelve or so, and Kammerer was his Boy Scout troop leader (and the fact that my father later killed Kammerer with his Boy Scout knife is not something that any psychologist or detective I know would ever dare to call a coincidence).

The remainder of the statement contains a powerful message about the damage produced by child abuse, the impact it has across generations, and the film’s distortion of the murder it supposedly documented. I, for one, am grateful that Mr. Carr has spoken out, and I hope that other visitors of 17th Street will feel similarly.

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