Beth Steidle and I met working at McNally Jackson Books, in Soho. I knew nothing about her when she started; she offered little personal information, but would answer questions if I asked. I came to learn she was a writer. Then I came to learn she was a visual artist. One night, we found ourselves taking the train home together, and I learned she was working on a book about her father, who died of kidney cancer. I read Beth’s […]
Inhabited by Spaces: A Conversation with Luke B. Goebel
Last fall, I interviewed Luke B. Goebel at Greenlight Bookstore about his excellent debut, Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours: A Novel. (You can hear the audio from that interview as part of Greenlight’s podcast.) In this book, Goebel does stunning things with narrative and voices, shifting from haunting realism to surreal archetypes and back, all within the context of a larger (and heartbreaking) narrative. That layering was one of the topics that we discussed, as part of a wide-ranging conversation.
“It Felt Very Troubadour-Like”: Mike Pace on His New Album, Comedy Podcasts, and Guitar Overdubs
I’ve literally known Mike Pace for half of my life: we met in the mid-90s when I was interning at a record label, and later reconnected after college, when he was one-third of the terrific indie rock band Oxford Collapse. That band called it a day in 2009, and Pace returned a few years later with two songs recorded under the Child Actors name, and returned to playing shows in 2014. A full-length, Best Boy, is due out next week; in […]
Katherine Howe on Witchcraft, Archives, and Historical Judgment
Earlier this fall, I read at an event with Katherine Howe, author of several novels and editor of the recent anthology The Penguin Book of Witches. Rather than read from the historical documents collected in the book, Howe discussed some of the cases mentioned therein, and helped refresh what some of us in the audience may have thought of witchcraft in the context of American history. A few weeks later, I talked with Howe over the phone to learn more about the […]
Talking Australian Soccer, Philadelphia Sports, and Dark Blue With John Sharkey III
The first time I heard music made by John Sharkey III came via his old band, the abrasive, irreverent Clockcleaner. Since Clockcleaner came to an end a few years ago, Sharkey has continued to make music that reaches the listener on both a visceral and an intellectual level–first with Puerto Rico Flowers, and now with Dark Blue. This year has seen three releases from the band: two seven inches, Subterranean Man and Just Another Night With the Boys, and a full length, Pure Reality. All of […]
Good Intentions, Political Fiction, and Ongoing Debates: Talking “Short Century” With David Burr Gerrard
David Burr Gerrard‘s debut novel, Short Century, is a politically resonant work, revisiting national debates on war and morality that are never too far removed. At the center of the novel is Arthur Hunt, a liberal journalist whose politics prompted him to support the Iraq War. From the novel’s first page, we know that Hunt has been killed, and we know that we’re reading a kind of memoir, written after something scandalous has come to light. Through this narrative, a host of […]
“The Urge Towards Making Meaning”: A Conversation with Scott Cheshire, Part Two
In the first part of my conversation with High as the Horses’ Bridles author Scott Cheshire, we discussed his novel’s origins and his process for writing it. In the second half, we delve more into the novel’s use of theology, the ordering of its world, and the ways in which religion can shape language.
Religious History and “Distorted Takes on Genre”: A Conversation with Scott Cheshire, Part One
I first met Scott Cheshire at an Electric Literature event in the winter; not long after that, I worked on a piece for the Tottenville Review, where he’s a contributing editor. Soon after that, I read his debut novel, High as the Horses’ Bridles. It’s a bold novel, abounding with contrasts: Cheshire is equally at home writing scenes of domestic conflict and theological debate; Queens and southern California are evoked in equal measures. There’s plenty to ponder here: long discussions of family, […]