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An interview with Jake Elliott

Magical realism

'Kentucky Route Zero' via Rock Paper Shotgun

Um, hmm. You’re working on something—currently—

[mumbling; papers shuffling] What is that called. God, I knew I didn’t take enough notes…!

No, it’s called Kentucky Route Zero.


Yeah, and it’s another adventure game, about, um, Kentucky.

And this is why I’ve been reading all this magic realist stuff, or I’m trying to draw a lot of the story and the characters, and the way they talk to each other, from pretty literary sources, from Gabriel García Márquez, mostly, and then also from Southern Gothic stuff like Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor—
—and Flannery O’Connor! I’m so happy to hear you say that!

Oh, yeah! Because her stuff is so, it’s all mundane in the sense that it’s realistic, it happens, so infused with the grotesque and the magic—

And people are bad and people are getting stabbed and people are freaks, but yeah, it’s very—she is funny, also!

Yeah, she is pretty funny, yeah.

She is hilarious. She’s my favorite?

Oh, cool! She said this funny thing that I read, I forget where—maybe, I don’t know, on Wikipedia or something—she said this funny thing about how people call anything from the South “grotesque,” unless it’s, um, actually grotesque. And then they’ll call it “realistic.”


It’s like a really weird relationship that people have with the South. So I’ve been thinking about that, a little bit, too, fantasies about the American South. And then also about this Christian mythology that infuses a lot of culture from the South, and from Kentucky, which is kind of on the border between the South and the Midwest, I guess. Um. Yes! Interesting space, and so, yeah.

It is! No, I agree. I completely agree. It is interesting. Coo-ool. I think my notes stopped short. What should I be asking? What should I have asked you?

Oh! Um.

[rustling pages] How have I disappointed you.

No! No, this has been really fun.

Okay! But, no, that was a real question, though.

Yeah, um… Boy, I don’t know, Jenn. [laughs] I don’t know, I’m glad for what we covered. That was all stuff I wanted to talk about.

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