In the span of three novels, John Wray has covered an impressive range of historical, stylistic, and emotional ground. He’s equally at home tracking the parallel paths of an unstable teen and the dogged police officer tracking him across contemporary New York (Lowboy) as he is describing an man’s horror, upon returning to his Austrian hometown in the 1930s, to discover widespread acceptance of fascism among old acquaintances (The Right Hand of Sleep). I first met Wray when we read […]
Where Public Enemy, H.P. Lovecraft, and Sid Vicious Converge: A Between Books Interview With Gabriel Blackwell
It started with a cover: a familiar detective-novel image slowly bleeding into the abstract. This was my first encounter with the work of Portland’s Gabriel Blackwell: picking up a copy of his Shadow Man after hearing good things about some then-recent readings he’d given in NYC. Subtitled “A Biography of Lewis Miles Archer,” Blackwell’s book creates a narrative out of the spaces in which noir‘s chroniclers and its characters overlap: a dense, thrilling work with hints of abused power and still-buried secrets. His […]
Over the past few years, Joshua Cohen has steadily amassed a staggeringly impressive body of work. His criticism appeared in Harper’s; Four New Messages, his collection of novellas, earned rave reviews for its deft prose and bravura displays of nested storytelling, and his novel Witz was both dense and dreamlike, evoking centuries-old imagery and New Jersey rest stops in equal measure. All of which begs the question of what’s next for Cohen — one that I sought to answer via this interview.
Notes on Identity, Location, and the Undefinable: A Between Books Interview With Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel specializes in atmospheric, ethically-charged fiction. Her novels — Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet — situate themselves around characters seeking redemption. Some are running from ambiguous family histories; others seek to rectify past mistakes. These are taut narratives that abound with precise evocations of place — whether it’s an economically ruined Florida suburb or the more familiar streets of New York. All of these qualities came up in this interview, which we conducted via […]
Jac Jemc‘s first novel My Only Wife ended up on more than a few of our best-of lists for 2012. Those who have read it will understand why: the Chicago-based author’s fiction is perfectly pitched, atmospheric and yet containing abundant mysteries. It’s unsettling without ever crossing a line into Gothic excess; it’s ambiguous without ever feeling the need to show off. Over the course of a few weeks, Jemc and I exchanged a series of emails to discuss her work as […]
The first story by Amelia Gray that I read was “Babies.” The first sentence of that story, if you recall, is this: “One morning, I woke to discover I had given birth overnight.” My first impression was healthy skepticism. How long, I thought, could this go on? I scrolled down the page to confirm that the story was shorter than most. It was. I kept reading, knowing I didn’t have much to suffer if it was bad. The second sentence […]