Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
Gary Indiana takes us on a dizzying ride along with the sociopathic yet charming Evangeline. A dead ringer for Elizabeth Taylor, she is driven by the thrill of seducing and killing. No onenot her husband, children, or friendsis exempt from her bizarre compulsions and gradiosity. She draws them all, without remorse, into a series of gambits that build to the ultimate payoff.
With a devastating wit, Indiana portrays the warped cultural nexus in which social misfits and their prey converge. Depraved Indifference is a brilliantly incisive commentary on the underbelly of American society.
|Edition description:||1 ED|
|Product dimensions:||6.44(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.19(d)|
About the Author
Gary Indiana's novels include Resentment: A Comedy, Rent Boy, Gone Tomorrow, and Horse Crazy. He has published two collections of short fiction and a collection of essays, Let It Bleed. His plays include the award-winning Roy Cohn/Jack Smith, The Roman Polanski Story, and Phantoms of Louisiana. His nonfiction work has appeared in the Village Voice, Artforum, Details, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
Clutching his heart outside the Wells Fargo Bank in La Jolla, Warren remembers the day he and Devin rode in this same teal Lincoln Town Car up to the Women's Federal Secure Facility a few miles out of Frontera. They were picking up Evangeline, who during her incarceration had sent no end of insane letters to what she referred to in one epic of dubious remorse as “the two great big men in my life,” meaning him, Warren, and Devin, who was thirteen at the time, along with the customary avalanche of legal papers, motions to dismiss in the insurance countersuit case, appellate briefs in the pilfered chinchilla case, an elaborate medical and psychiatric demur in still another case, all of these drafted in journeywoman legalese by Evangeline for polishing by whichever attorneys had not already been stiffed for their fees. There was a civil suit pending that is still pending, bolstered by Evangeline's conviction for coercing servitude or whatever, a case where Warren took a Harry Helmsley walk (albeit a pretty steep walk, if they don't settle the civil case soon and the lawyers for the so-called abused maids take whatever money Warren hasn't already squirreled away in the Caymans and whatever property Warren hasn't signed over in deed trust or what have you to various associates, confidantes, and whatever passes with Warren for a friend), as Warren would plainly admit, if it were the practice among the Slote family ever to plainly admit anything, including their own names. There were process servers lurking all over the countryside like kudzu on a Georgia pine barren, evenpoor Devin had had to deal with them, and until Evangeline's run of bad luck three years earlier (a richly deserved run, in Warren's view), they had been in incessant motion like a bunch of sharks between Oahu and Vegas and Nassau and Puerto Vallarta for god knew how many years, as if by just moving around and altering a few trifles of their public presentation such as name age and Social Security number, they could evade all sorts of unpleasant legalities, which had turned out to be true.
However, the slavery charges involved virtually all these jurisdictions, which made it a federal matter, because at one time or another most of the maids had been kept in all their houses and condos, Evangeline rotated them from residence to residence, as she believed this prevented them from “getting smart,” as she put it, getting rambunctious or above themselves, though she also obliged them to call her Mama and pretend they were part of the family, a family with which they had to make grueling daily efforts to get along, as they were going to be part of this family “forever.” “Forever” was sometimes a whole year, even longer, but some had gotten away during lulls in Evangeline's vigilance, slipped out windows or carelessly unlocked doors, or been dismissed after six months or eight months, Evangeline wanted everything in her realm spotless and shiny and perfect and not every one of these Mexican girls could live up to such imperious standards. Then too, they did not especially appreciate being kicked and punched by Devin at whatever age, or Devin feeling up their skirts for pussy, or being locked into their rooms at night, or being slapped around and pummelled by Evangeline.
Warren perfectly saw their view. In fact, he had even urged one of Evangeline's rather dim procurers, one of these titless wonders from god knew what dreary graduate schools in the midwest that Evangeline enticed via Internet as tutors for Devin, not to bring any new maids in from Mexico -- well, actually he had urged the young woman to bring not more than one or two, as opposed to the five or six that Evangeline was demanding, but he had really meant for her not to bring any. Warren fretted about Devin. He worried that things were happening to Devin that would have an irreversible ugly effect upon Devin. He could not oppose Evangeline in any more important way, so decided to voice his fear that Devin might grow up with Spanish as his first language. Warren said that in his experience, this could have a catastrophic impact on a child who would have to speak English all the time later on. Naturally Warren was drunk, as Warren had to be whenever he planned to sound an unwanted note of reality or even unreality in Evangeline's sensorium. It never got as far as Evangeline anyway, when he sobered up the next day he advised the girl, Janet or Christie or one of them anyway, to forget everything he'd spilled in his cups. He said if she told Evangeline about their conversation he would deny it ever occurred, and then where would Janet or Christie or whomever be? Mama would take Papa's word over any of these ungrateful young hicks who were getting the opportunity of a lifetime working for the Slotes: international travel, gourmet cuisine and so forth, gifts of scarves and trinkets, best of all the festive atmosphere that Mama spread around herself, as she herself said, not unlike the legendary Auntie Mame. Mama referred to the chaos and panic she generated everywhere as her “zest for living.”
Unfortunately, many who lacked this protean zest sooner or later turned against her. Mama believed that everybody made up stories to get away with something and that almost everybody who worked for them eventually hooked up with some implacable conspiracy fomented by Warren's ex-wife and their kids, and Warren's aunts, and Warren's cousins, and possibly a maverick government agency, along with something she referred to as the Honolulu Mob, all these accountants and lawyers and insurance adjustors who wriggled through their ken ended up getting bought off, paid for false depositions, menaced into perjured testimony by threats from the Honolulu Mob. According to Mama, Warren's...
Depraved Indifference. Copyright © by Gary Indiana. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Exclusive Author Essay
The actress Gena Rowlands once told me that her mother, citing some conundrum that had vexed her for as long as she could remember, said, "I thought I would know the answer to this by my age, but I guess there are some things I'll just never know the answer to." When I consider the subjects of my books -- not all of them, perhaps, but certainly the three most recent ones, Resentment, Three Month Fever, and Depraved Indifference -- what leaps out at me most disturbingly is that they are all really about the unanswerable question that Joan Didion so brilliantly distilled on the first page of her novel Play It as It Lays: "Why is Iago evil?"
I don't approach the problem of evil as a theological one, the way President Bush and Osama bin Laden do in their mirror rhetoric. The imputation of "evil" to competing ideologies caused most of the 20th century to become a charnel house that eradicated centuries of evolving civilization; in our new century, the ideologies wear a religious Halloween mask. Evil is "underneath" all the belief systems and social arrangements contrived to produce social order and rationalize our fear of death; it's something inside us that no map of the human genome is ever going to locate. It used to be thought that criminals had, invariably, an extra Y chromosome; I'm not sure where that theory went, but had it even been true, what's defined as a criminal in some societies doesn't apply in many others, and very few criminals are synonymous, in my mind, with "evil." Evil acts, evil attitudes are usually produced by an evil upbringing -- but evil incarnate, that's hard to drape over a country-size prison population comprised largely of small-time drug dealers and their clientele.
If evil were totally incarnate in a person, that person would be a monster, and, as monsters are not human, we could not hold this monster responsible for its actions by ordinary human measurement. We say instead that people are a mixture of good and evil, everyone with different proportions. In law there are mitigating and aggravating circumstances presented in capital cases to determine exactly how fundamentally evil the defendant may be considered. The criminal characters I've featured in my recent books have been horrifically evil at a certain moment in their lives, in the cases of Carlos and Felix Martinez in Resentment; evil for a protracted period of time in the instance of Andrew Cunanan in Three Month Fever; and in Depraved Indifference, Evangeline Slote is compulsively, grandiosely, implacably, and untiringly evil on a full-time basis. She is the logical finale to an investigation I now know I will never discover the answer to, the last installment of my trilogy. But something else, too: She embodies the allure and warped intelligence and manipulative resourcefulness of the successfully evil person, and her brazen assault on what little of the social contract remains active in our society reveals how feebly complicit and indifferent the citizens of the world's longest-running democracy have become to the criminal will to power, whether embodied in a madcap freelance grifter with a pretty face or the petroleum consortium working the glove puppet in the White House.
Why is Iago evil? I won't ever know, and neither will you. (Gary Indiana)