Photo courtesy David Leyes
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of waking up in an alternate universe (especially recently)?
“We all imagine futures for ourselves that we don’t get,” says Elan Mastai, author of the swirling, comic sci-fi novel All Our Wrong Todays. “This is the future you get. You have to figure out how to live in it—how to close the gap between the world you want to live in and the world you do live in.”
In Mastai’s world (Canada ...
Quips on our radar
Michael Chabon, courtesy of Benjamin Tice Smith
“[There might have been] a cartoon of someone vomiting.”
—Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, on the humiliating experience of breaking into his college literary journal’s office and discovering his defaced poetry submission in the reject pile, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“If you want to blame me [for] the death of Christmas, be my guest.”
—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, who bought $23,000 worth ...
Rachel Hulin photographed by Brett Henrikson.
Fancy a Dangerous Liaisons-styledelicacy? Rachel Hulin’s epistolary debut features some lip-smacking secrets between brother and sister.
“I love epistolary novels,” says Hulin, author of Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. “I always try to think about how to get that voyeuristic voice without letters...but it just feels like you’re not getting in there. I really want to be in someone’s head. I want to feel like you know this person deeply and you know their secrets.”
Matilda and ...
Courtesy Park Jaehong
Han Kang’s fierce, fresh fiction has the book world abuzz: The Vegetarian, her first novel to be translated from Korean to English, won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. It is one of “The 10 Best Books of 2016,” according to the New York Times Book Review.It is ripe with searing imagery that won’t soon leave you. So, too, is Human Acts—a second, related novel now available in English thanks to The Vegetarian translator Deborah Smith. In ...
Courtesy Isan Brant
Writing about the simple life proved anything but for immersive journalist Mark Sundeen.
His original manuscript—an unadorned account of three couples who, in varying ways, have opted out of everyday American consumerism—was accepted and revised when he withdrew it from publisher Riverhead Books.
“I had a close friend read it, call me, and say, I stopped reading at page 175 because I couldn’t figure out why you’d written this book,” says Sundeen, author of The Unsettlers: In Search of ...
Shanthi Sekaran photographed by Daniel Grisales.
An undocumented immigrant’s struggle to regain parental rights over her American-born son fostered a novel idea for Shanthi Sekaran.
“It was one particular story of a Guatemalan woman who was having her child adopted away from her and was trying to get him back,” says Sekaran, who heard the news on NPR. “With a news report, you get a three-minute, four-minute synopsis at most, and I wanted to understand what was going on—why both parties, on either side of ...
“For starters, why did we ever pretend novels by straight white guys about straight white guys spoke for entire generations?”
—Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens, “Why There’s No ‘Millenial’ Novel,” in the New York Times
“Losing a teenager to [Edwidge] Danticat is not really losing a teenager. The child that re-emerged was a bit deeper, a bit kinder.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, on her daughter’s reading habits, “A Year in Reading: Jacqueline Woodson” at The ...
Nikki Grimes photographed by Aaron Lemen.
When the opportunity to read aloud arises, acclaimed poet Nikki Grimes shines.
“Oh, I love to read, whether it’s to a single person or an audience,” says Grimes, who spoke with Kirkus by phone from her home in Corona, California. “I’ve found that we really don’t grow out of the love of being read to—I have friends who occasionally call to ask me to read them something.”
In the course of the interview, she offers to read aloud ...