Miranda Beverly-Whittemore photographed by Kai Beverly-Whittemore.
The family mansion at the heart of Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s June doesn’t just have character—it is one.
“Houses don’t always dream,” Beverly-Whittemore writes at the beginning of chapter one. “In fact, most don’t. But once again, Two Oaks was dreaming of the girls—the one called June, who looked like a woman, and the one called Lindie, who looked like a boy.”
When oil baron Lemon Gray Neely broke ground on Two Oaks in 1895, the people of rural St ...
Ann Leary photographed Catherine White.
Ann Leary hopes she’s not stirring up a hornet’s nest by declaring her fascination with WASPs.
“Are we not supposed to say ‘New England WASPs’?” Leary says. “I hope that’s not derogatory now. ‘People I’ve known who come from old family money’? I’m fascinated by their relationship with money, which is so different from anyone I’ve ever known.”
Leary (The Good House, 2013; Outtakes from a Marriage, 2008), who grew up mainly in the Midwest, resides in a ...
Stephanie Danler photographed by Nick Voderman.
Stephanie Danler’s debut novel, Sweetbitter, begins with a perfect amuse-bouche:
“You will develop a palate.”
“It’s a command from a voice from the future, that first line,” says Danler, who intended the second-person start as an homage to Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. (McInerney reciprocated with an enthusiastic blurb for the back jacket.)
“The entire plot is in that sentence, ‘You will develop a palate,’ ” she says. “Nothing else really happens, except this young woman ...
Jill Lepore photographed by Dari Michele.
Jill Lepore isn’t the first New Yorker staff writer to sink her teeth into Joe Gould.
Gould, the eccentric, often homeless New York City bohemian (b. 1889—d. 1957), was profiled twice by legendary journalist Joseph Mitchell: In 1942, his article “Professor Sea Gull” highlighted Gould’s claim of writing the longest book in history—a chronicle of everyday New Yorkers, entitled Meo Tempore or The Oral History of Our Time—on a tremendous collection of notebooks and scrap paper. In 1965, “Joe ...
Eric Ripert photographed by Nigel Parry.
Chef Eric Ripert is as particular about the words used to tell his story as he is about the ingredients used in Le Bernardin’s kitchen.
“Very much yes,” says Ripert, author of 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line, written with Veronica Chambers. The two spent hours in the basement of his famous Manhattan restaurant: he, telling the story; she, translating speech into narrative nonfiction.
“Veronica let me be very involved, basically micromanaging every chapter with ...
Diane Guerrero photographed by Marcus Branch.
The most-feared phrase of the typical American teenager is probably, We’re taking away your phone. For Orange Is the New Black actress Diane Guerrero, it was, We’re taking away your parents.
“Deported. Long before I fully understood what that word meant, I’d learned to dread it,” Guerrero writes in her debut memoir, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. “With every ring of my family’s doorbell, with every police car passing on the street, a horrifying possibility ...
Brit Bennet's novel, The Mothers will come out in October.
You’ve seen them at Book Expo America: the grave sufferers of tote shoulder. Tote shoulder (noun, Pathology) is the sustained three-inch droop in the bag-bearing arm of conventioneers with too many galleys to choose from. To help avoid misalignment, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 galleys you won’t want to miss this year at BEA, taking place in Chicago at McCormick Place. They include literary titans’ long-awaited returns, top-notch investigative journalism, daring debuts, and the first novel from ...
Adam Haslett photographed by Beowulf Sheehan.
Adam Haslett specializes in complex interiority.
“My interest has always been interior life—imagining the texture of other people’s experiences,” says Adam Haslett, whose debut novel, Union Atlantic, was a finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.
“One thing I love about great literature is that it absorbs me,” he says. “It slows down the nervous tick-tock of daily life into contemplation of something that’s ultimately more important, but strangely often ignored, which is our imagined lives—the ...