James Frey: ‘I always wanted to be the outlaw’
The controversial novelist talks about truth, fiction and his new book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible
At first he tells me he doesn’t believe in God – but then says he does sometimes – so I ask if he’d like the version he describes in the book to exist. “Well,” he drawls, “there are plenty of people on earth who think they’re the Messiah,” – which is true, but not terribly illuminating.
“People read the book and think it’s 100% what I believe. But if you were interviewing a guy who wrote a book about a serial killer, you would probably not ask him if he really dreams about cutting people up, would you? It’s just the work.
He first had the idea to write a bible more than 15 years ago. “In America we hear this shit all the time: the end of days is coming, the Messiah is coming. So I’ve always thought, well what would people do if the Messiah did show up? What would that person be like?” If the book causes offence, he insists that this is entirely incidental, and not his intention. “It’s just not a concern.” Would he be concerned if the novel failed to cause any offence at all? “Nah,” he shrugs. “Nah, I’d be kind of happy. Cos I don’t like protesters outside my door, and I don’t like people fucking with me, and I don’t like getting hassled. I’ve had that my whole career, and it’s not that fun.”
I believe it needs more colour, a nod to all ‘The Second coming of Christ’ paintings I have been looking at like this one: