Ramona Ausubel photographed by Teo Grossman
Ramona Ausubel wasn’t raised to contend with the weight of wealth: her maternal grandfather declined to take over the family steel business. Her grandmother turned their tony estate into a writers’ colony. Soon, the money was a memory.
“I feel like I have this lucky little spot, in that I didn’t grow up with the freedom or burden of the money itself but the stories of being from a family that believes in itself,” she says. “A family that ...
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 ...
Dorothea Benton Frank photographed by Amelia Kennedy.
Dorothea Benton Frank is a New York Times bestselling author who’s written more than a dozen novels set in her native South Carolina, beginning with 2000’s Sullivans Island and including 2012’s Porch Lights and last year’s All the Single Ladies. Her latest, All Summer Long, tells the tale of Northerner Olivia Richie, an interior designer planning to move to the South Carolina Lowcountry with her Southern second husband, Nicholas Seymour. It will be an adjustment: “A bona-fide New Yorker, Olivia ...
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 ...
"Foreign Influence" is Kirkus' preview of books first published overseas. Below are several books already making waves abroad.
U.K.: Apr. 21, 2016 | William Heinemann
U.S.: Aug. 9, 2016 | Henry Holt
The 19th-century Hindu saint Sri Ramakrishna has long fascinated British novelist Barker. Prone to trances, ecstatic fits, and sudden swoons into unconsciousness, Ramakrishna was “cherished and celebrated” from childhood. In an afterword which betrays her extensive reading on her subject, Barker describes her novel ...
Dan Vyleta photographed by Michael Lionstar.
A smoldering high-stakes fantasy adventure with twisting philosophical undertones, acclaimed novelist Dan Vyleta’s latest defies easy categorization. Smoke—set at an elite boarding school in an alternate Victorian England—is lush, dark, and terrifying. It is intellectually rigorous. It is also quietly tender. It feels like classic children’s literature, except that it’s also the stuff of nightmares. Here, moral impurity is not an idea but a physical reality: commit a sin and Smoke pours out of you, stinking, repulsive, leaving its ...
Charles Bock photographed by Nina Subin.
There can be a thin line between fiction and memoir—and it’s often hard to see where that line falls. Just this week I deleted a sentence from a review that said a debut novel had “an autobiographical feel”; many people assume that first novels are based on the author’s life, but who’s to say they’re not just beautifully imagined fiction?
Occasionally writers will make it clear that they’re drawing from their own experience. Kathryn Harrison, for example, wrote a novel ...
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 ...