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EXCLUSIVE: Nic Pizzolatto’s Louisiana

  // Thursday, 16 January 2014 03:00 //

When I was in college, my best friend’s brother became famous. Put more precisely, he became famous to people like us: The Atlantic bought and published two of his short stories, and this was, as Vice President Biden would say, “a big fucking deal,” bigger than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. His stories were perfect and beautiful and maddeningly true. I envied him for telling these stories before I had the chance, for being so diligent, so precise, for upsetting the cosmic order of our universe by puncturing through all of it, before I really had a chance, for giving away the beginning, the middle, and the ending of what I had wanted to tell.

And, of course, for selling it to The Atlantic.

But it was also his story; it was his story before it ever belonged to me, and truth be told: He was a better writer than I was.

My friend’s brother, Nic, was also a graduate student in the same creative writing program as my cousin Paul and his wife Jen, which made our worlds seem even smaller to me, and, at the same time, also made me feel even more loyal to Nic. We had only met once, over a weekend of debauchery in Las Vegas, but I knew, instinctively, that Nic understood Louisiana the same way I do. His first novel, Galveston, confirmed that to me. I sank into it; I was hooked, and Nic and I have remained friends.

Today, because of Nic’s HBO show True Detective, he is now being lauded as a genius writer. I knew that a decade ago, when his first story in The Missouri Review (remember, I was his brother’s best friend and roommate) about a boy going to a horse race with his alcoholic father reduced me to tears.

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