"Triburbia," by Karl Taro Greenfeld

Jeff Glor talks to Karl Taro Greenfeld about "Triburbia."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Karl Taro Greenfeld: Tribeca was the first place I lived in with children of school age, so I became more profoundly trapped in the web of community here than any previous city or town. I began to write these stories about my neighborhood, the people, the school, the attitudes, the pretensions, the aspirations and the comedy. I didn't know they would all fit together but I had this idea they might and after a few years--and the success of novels-in-stories like A Visit from the Goon Squad--my publisher agreed with me.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

KG: From the start I was surprised by how well I knew my characters and their motivations. So much writing is about defining character yet in this book I started with such a clear idea of who I was writing. That may be a problem in the work for some, since that means these are not stories of self-discovery or a vast tale that turns on a tragic flaw. But it does mean these stories read very fast and easily. You can read Triburbia in one or two sittings.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

KG: I really can't do anything else. If I could, I would. I've had office jobs. I don't last very long.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

KG: I'm writing a story about ESPN for a magazine (Bloomberg Businessweek), so I've been reading the book These Guys Have All the Fun, an oral history of ESPN. I have two novels, How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti and Office Girl by Joe Meno that I am starting on. I just finished the book Opium Fiend by Steven Martin. That one is fantastic.

JG: What's next for you?

KG: My next novel is sort of an updated Grapes of Wrath, set in foreclosure America. Or that's one strand of it. I'm about halfway through and the book seems ungainly and awful, but that's how books seem when you are half-way through writing them.

For more on "Triburbia" visit the Harper Collins website.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.