Writing a well-crafted, insightful, contemporary and challenging novel is hard. Too hard for Jackson Penthouse, so instead he put his effort into creating a boring but commercially successful book.
Out Of Tune is Mr Penthouse’s debut novel, published by Random House. It follows the life of would-be musician-cum-writer Toby Wilhelm, as he contemplates the meaning of his life in Manhattan.
“The book is semi-autobiographical,” said Mr Penthouse. “I didn’t have the time or motivation to research other people’s lives so I just used most of my own.”
Jackson Penthouse grew up in a relatively wealthy house in suburban Milwaukee, where music was encouraged at an early age.
“We played all kinds of instruments. I was a string musician, whilst my younger sister was percussion,” said Mr Penthouse. “Dad would always be playing The Eagles.”
Mr Penthouse says these days his musical inspirations are Coldplay, Maroon 5 and Kings Of Leon.
“They really speak to me. They don’t sing about much. Just simple tales of relationships gone awry or having a good time. That’s what I like.”
Boring books, sometimes called airport novels because of their easiness to read in an airport, have been receiving a boost in recent years. Many Americans, unable to deal with the complexity of the modern world and the consequences of their foreign adventures, turn to boring books as a form of escapism.
Mr Penthouse agrees. “I thought about writing a book about a transgender woman and the massive discrimination she faces within the music industry, but that would have been difficult. Americans love their country and they don’t want to be reminded too directly how hard it is for some people out there.”