Interview with Haydn Glade from Taken Away by Patty Friedmann

The last time I saw Haydn Glade was in 2005. My novel, Taken Away, was ending, and he was decidedly not in a good mood. He and Sumbie Elmwood had what I thought was a pretty terrific relationship for two people going into junior year in high school. Possibly the beginnings of being boyfriend-girlfriend.
But something about having survived Hurricane Katrina must have skewed their sensitivities.

Haydn’s feelings were hurt, and that’s how the book ended.

Now he’s back here in New Orleans, having graduated from Amherst College, and I want to find out what happened. I know Sumbie went to Smith College, which is seven miles from Amherst.

Haydn sits down with his coffee at a different Rue de la Course from the one where he and Sumbie used to hide from the popular kids in high school. A lot of places have closed since the storm.

“So what’s with you and Sumbie?” I say. I have the privilege of being uncensored that comes with writing fiction.

“She’s in New Orleans,” he says.

“So you’re in touch.”


“What happened to your relationship?” I say.

“You left it ambiguous at the end of your book. Why would you want anyone to know how things turned out?”

“Because I’m curious,” I say. “You went to Amherst, and a year later she followed you to Smith.”

“Nobody chooses a college anymore because of a love interest.”

I try to read his expression. “Now you’re both in New Orleans.”

He smiles. “And we see each other, definitely. I feel as if I’m important to the Elmwoods because of Amalia.” Amalia is Sumbie’s sister, who would be eight now. Haydn helped look for her after she disappeared in the storm.

“Is that all I’m going to get out of you?” I say.

“We love each other,” he says.

I can’t believe that his saying that tells me nothing.


Patty Friedmann’s two latest books are a YA novel called Taken Away [TSP 2010] and a literary e-novel titled Too Jewish [booksBnimble 2010]. She also is the author of six darkly comic literary novels set in New Orleans: The Exact Image of Mother [Viking Penguin 1991]; Eleanor Rushing [1998], Odds [2000], Secondhand Smoke [2002], Side Effects [2006], and A Little Bit Ruined [2007] [all hardback and paperback from Counterpoint except paper edition of Secondhand Smoke from Berkley Penguin]; as well as the humor book Too Smart to Be Rich [New Chapter Press 1988].

Her novels have been chosen as Discover Great New Writers, Original Voices, and Book Sense 76 selections, and her humor book was syndicated by the New York Times. She has published reviews, essays, and short stories in Publishers Weekly, Newsweek, Oxford American, Speakeasy, Horn Gallery, Short Story, LA LIT, Brightleaf, New Orleans Review, and The Times-Picayune and in anthologies The Great New American Writers Cookbook, Above Ground, Christmas Stories from Louisiana, My New Orleans, New Orleans Noir, and Life in the Wake. Her stage pieces have been part of Native Tongues. In a special 2009 edition, Oxford American listed Secondhand Smoke with 29 titles that included Gone with the Wind, Deliverance, and A Lesson Before Dying as the greatest Underrated Southern Books. With slight interruptions for education and natural disasters, she always has lived in New Orleans.

You can visit her website at


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Posted on October 11, 2011, in Character Interview. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Interview with Haydn Glade from Taken Away by Patty Friedmann.

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