In P. F. Kluge's latest novel, "The Master Blaster," the author returns to familiar terrain, the Pacific island of Saipan. Kluge has written about Saipan before and he knows the island well. In this interview he recalls his first visit there as a member of the Peace Corps, and his many subsequent trips there.
The Master Blaster of the title is a mysterious fellow who maintains a controversial website that offers up a stream of critiques of how things are going on the island. Nobody knows who is posting this material. The Master Blaster is actually a respected member of the community.
Kluge admits to borrowing a literary device from Graham Greene for this novel. The year is 2004 and Kluge has his other characters show up together at the same time, on an incoming plane. These passengers include
a burned out travel writer, an ambitious female academic, a guest worker from Bangladesh, and a shady real estate developer. The novel alternates across the varying viewpoints of the Master Blaster and our four fellow
Kluge has enjoyed significant literary success over the years. An article he wrote for Life Magazine became the basis for the film "Dog Day Afternoon." His book "Eddie and the Cruisers" was also adapted for the big screen. That film supposedly never made a profit but the soundtrack sold very well. Kluge professes to be the only faculty member at Kenyon College who possesses a double platinum record award.