Best-selling author comes home
EDWARDS ” Rosalie Isom first met Ben Kunkel when he was a little boy living up Salt Creek, still playing with trucks. But today, that child is a soft-spoken, 32-year-old editor and the best-selling author of “Indecision,” a debut novel about a man who suffers from the chronic inability to make up his mind.
“I find it wonderful that Ben found his ideas early, that he knew his characters so well, so soon in his life,” Isom, also a writer, said. “I liked his book very much.”
And so did the reviewers, who dubbed it “the funniest and smartest coming-of-age novel in years.” This month, “Indecision” was released in paperback, and local readers are snatching up copies before Kunkel returns to Eagle County for a book signing on Thursday.
Friends and interested locals look forward to learning how the main character, Dwight Wilmerding, was created and what personality traits the author shares with his protagonist.
“I’m especially interested to know what in [the author’s] background inspired him to come up with this story,” said Alicia Pribramsky, a teacher at the Eagle Country Charter Academy.
Kunkel does share attendance at an elite East Coast boarding school with Dwight, but mostly he has denied any other autobiographical connections.
“Really Dwight Wilmerding, my hero, is a sort of counter-self, a dumber, blither, more affable version of myself,” Kunkel said. “Generally the experiences I’ve shared with my protagonist are geographical. I’ve been to the places in the novel, but that’s about it.”
Pribramsky’s book club chose to read the book because they knew the author was from Eagle County, and his choice of subject sounded interesting to the 30-something women in her group.
But Isom, a baby boomer, feels the book has appeal for older readers as well.
“I had to think hard to understand the book, coming from a different generation,” said Isom. “But Dwight is a particularly warm character. He is very modern with the way he lives in the world. Yet at the same time, he is very compatible with people. I came to care about him quite a lot.”
She has recommended the novel for her book club to read this summer, as have several others in the valley. In the meantime, Isom looks forward to seeing her old friend this week and getting her copy of “Indecision” personally inscribed.