Stranger than Fiction

Pablo Picasso once said that art is the lie that tells the truth. Michael Putegnat would probably agree. The Brownsville public policy and computing consultant chose to write a novel to explain how oil politics affect Wall Street, Washington and Small Town, USA.

"All I could show was the numbers coming in," Putegnat says on why he didn't write a nonfiction book. "And nobody seems to pay attention to facts anymore."

His debut novel, Laguna, is the story of the heir to a Texas oil dynasty torn between his personal ethics and the spread of his family's empire.

"It's really about the Shakespearean themes of greed and corruption," says Putegnat. "I just put it in that setting so Texans would relate to it." Still, Laguna is meant to reflect the current political and business climate, where greed and corruption are cynically accepted, he says.

"We just smile and nod so much anymore," Putegnat says. "When politicians get trips to Scotland to play golf, we pretend it's not a bribe. We know they're lying and we accept it. We suspend our disbelief like we would reading a novel." See Putegnat actually read a novel, when he reads from Laguna at Murder by the Book.
Sat., July 29, 4:30 p.m.

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Nick Keppler