If Herve le Tellier was served to me on a plate, I’d eat him. I’d like to fly to Paris and beg him to have dinner with me so I could have three or four hours of urbane conversation. It would be like walking onto the set of my own personal My Dinner with Andre.
As I grew older, books continued to shape my life. Roald Dahl brought on fits of laughter. Diet for a New America made me a vegetarian for 10 years. Motherless Daughters reminded me that I’m not alone. Thoreau taught me that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. Jeanette Winterson reminded me that I have a heart that thumps and a brain that pulses. Faulkner made me pay attention to language and narrative and consciousness.
I suppose it’s a fair question to ask why anyone would get an MFA in writing, and spend any time aligning themselves, and their writing to a list of books that are subscribed by a teacher? Will reading these books make them a better writer, I doubt it, but if they live their lives, that might do something, and yes, if they write every day too.
Here’s five titles forthcoming this winter/spring that I’ve read in galley, and am really excited about, and pleased as punch to bang my drum for–so much so, that I’ve asked the publishers for giveaway copies. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the giveaways, and probably some When We Fell in Love posts from the authors of these excellent novels, three of which are debuts, and couldn’t be more different from one another.
Rachman’s prose flows like water, and he’s got the gift for creating fascinating characters in spades. While the italicized newspaper history passages informed the story, they felt a little tacked on to me, though if I was a gambling man, I’d venture that Rachman had some outside editorial input on that count—ie, “people don’t buy short stories, we’ve got to tie these things together, etc”. The book doesn’t need them.
Ted and Laura are going through the pains of being married, he’s getting fat, and she’s getting boring, plus she brings him ice cream each night, and longs for him, she rubs his crotch with her foot while they watch TV. Ted is a computer programmer, and on a trip to San Francisco he longs to get a blow job from the stewardess, and even thinks of leaving Laura. It’s a common thought, all men think this way, and if I get one email saying otherwise, I call bullshit.