Yaa Gyasi photographed by Michael Lionstar
The structure of Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, is all wide sweep and ambition, covering three centuries and a host of characters between Ghana and the United States to depict the long and harrowing reach of slavery. But even while the novel’s scope expanded, Gyasi’s chief concern was keeping the story on an individual level.
“We have a tendency to look upon our ancestors as though they were less smart or less moral than us,” Gyasi says. “Were we ...
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 ...
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 ...
Louise Erdrich photographed by Paul Emmel.
The wind blows cold in North Dakota, the skies filling with a steely gray that casts a pall over a land that, if sullen, is not without its beauty. In these broken fields, among these small lakes and patches of forest, there are time-honored ways of marking the seasons. One is hunting deer, a fact from which Louise Erdrich’s 15th novel, LaRose departs, as the opening line has it, “where the reservation boundary invisibly bisected a stand of deep brush ...
Anna Quindlen photographed by Maria Krovatin.
“I wanted to write a novel about America,” Anna Quindlen says of the inspiration for her latest, Miller’s Valley. “Big things happen in this country and then we promptly forget about them. America papers things over and then starts over again anew. That’s very exciting and allows for reinvention, but we forget our history."
What is at risk of being papered over in Miller’s Valley is the title’s namesake: a rural town in Pennsylvania where narrator Mimi Miller’s family ...
Augusten Burroughs photographed by Christopher Schelling.
After the publication of his self-help book, This Is How, Augusten Burroughs considered getting a divorce—from memoirs.
“At that point, I had made the intellectual decision, within myself, that I wanted to write novels,” says Burroughs, who wrote two in the next few years.
But a third book eclipsed them both: the story of how he fell in love with his husband, literary agent Christopher Schelling. Yes, Burroughs’s latest, Lust & Wonder, is, in fact, a memoir.
“That is ...
Harlan Coben photographed by Claudio Marinesco
For mere mortal men, 28 novels would be the work of a lifetime spent crafting eerie tales of familial peril and sudden reversals. But for New Jersey-based bestselling novelist Harlan Coben, it’s just what’s on the way to number 29.
We’ve connected to talk about his new stand-alone novel, Fool Me Once, a twisty and surreally dark suburban drama with one hell of a shock waiting for readers at the end of it. Our portal into Coben’s world is Maya ...