Unlike Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which had years’ worth of hype before it sold its first copy, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, released last summer, has been a slower-burning literary sensation. After Goon Squad made its way onto many a top ten list in 2010, it made waves again last month when it beat out Freedom for the ultra-prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Goon Squad is hardly Egan’s first well-received, wildly inventive novel, but with another literary nod from across the pond and the new paperback release, Egan seems to be experiencing a new level of critical and commercial recognition. She took some time to talk to EW about Goon Squad and why it connected. READ FULL STORY »
Tag: Interview (81-90 of 120)
The New Yorker‘s “20 under 40″ issue in June 2010. Being a New Yorker-anointed author can be a strong predictor of a great career to come, as evidenced by Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri’s inclusion on the first iteration of the list back in 1999. The magazine took a gamble by giving her a boost before her first novel The Tiger’s Wife was even released, but it has paid off richly: Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, including one from our own Lisa Schwarzbaum. The Tiger’s Wife is a wise, beautifully imagined novel well beyond Obreht’s years. As a 25-year-old writer myself, I spoke to Obreht about her stunning novel and her journey before, during, and since writing it.25-year-old author Téa Obreht couldn’t have asked for better buzz when she was the youngest author (24 years old at the time) featured in
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It was exciting to see “20 under 40″ make a discovery of sorts with you, and I came away from the issue remembering you even more than some of the established writers on the list. Were you shocked by that level of public recognition?
TÉA OBREHT: I was. I think to some degree, it felt like it was happening to somebody else. It was a big accolade to get, and a really early one. It took a while to sink in. It was shocking for me, in a very good way. READ FULL STORY »
Gary Dell’ Abate has spent the last 27 years producing Howard Stern’s radio program — Baba Booey! — a three-ring circus of calculated chaos that now reigns on Sirius — Baba Booey!! — Satellite Radio. Over the years, he’s taken part — Baba Booey!!! Fine! Over the years, Baba Booey has taken part in all sorts of shenanigans and grown accustomed to having his personal life — and dental hygiene — dissected by Stern and his court. But with the New York Times best-seller They Call Me Baba Booey, Dell’ Abate (and cowriter Chad Millman) have pulled back the curtain on his own complex childhood in Long Island, where his clinically depressed mother was prone to clobbering antagonistic neighbors with shrubs. Some fans expecting a Private Parts-esque expose of racists, strippers and carnival freaks might be disappointed, but others will be pleasantly surprised by the earnest and thoughtful telling of growing up Booey. If anyone was raised to handle the insanity of Howard Stern’s jackals, it’s Gary Dell’ Abate.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Who did you set out to write the book for?
GARY DELL’ ABATE: I was always targeting it towards the fans. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I think the fans will appreciate, but it’s not a behind-the-scenes-of-the-show book. I guess my angle was, I’ve been on the show for 27 years. If you think you know me and you like me, now you’ll really get to know me.
The book is much more personal and sober than I would’ve expected, delving into your upbringing in a very chaotic middle-class household. Was that always the plan?
I was playing with a lot of different ideas. I had been pitching around a different kind of book, a much lighter book. I’m known as the music guy on the show, so maybe a Baba Booey’s Book of Music Lists, Essays, Arguments etc etc, something like that. I talked to a book agent who I know very well, and he said, “Well, you might be able to sell that, but really, What’s your story?” And I said, “Well I don’t have a story.” And he’s like “Everybody’s got a story.” And so I went home that night and thought about it, and I called him the next day, and I said, “You want to know my story? Here’s my story.” And he goes, “That’s a great story.” I go, “Yeah, there’s one problem; I don’t really want to tell that story.” It was highly personal. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there, because I didn’t want to portray my mother in a negative way. READ FULL STORY »
Prepresentin': We chat with 'True Prep' author Lisa Birnbach about her bestselling followup to 'The Official Preppy Handbook'
We all know the external signs of a preppy: Boat shoes, shirts with alligator logos, well-honed après-ski skills, and a proclivity towards all things nautical. These signposts have been general knowledge since the beginning of time, or at least since the beginning of the 1980s, when Lisa Birnbach first penned The Official Preppy Handbook, a runaway bestseller that ended up, for many people, defining the subculture it was attempting to describe. Now, 30 years later, and with the help of über-book designer Chip Kidd, Birnbach has returned to her polo-shirted roots with True Prep, a sequel that tries to help explain the preppy’s place in the modern world. We talked with the author about unfair preppy stereotypes, very fair preppy stereotypes, and everything in between.
Bob Fingerman says that during his spell dwelling on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the mid-’90s he came to the conclusion the area was not exactly the liveliest place on earth. “It felt zombie-like in a lot of ways,” says the writer and artist. “You’d see lots of old women eating alone in diners. There seemed to be a quality of just waiting for death.” Way to big the burg up, dude! “This is why I don’t work for the Upper East Side Board of Tourism,” laughs the now Upper West Side-dwelling Fingerman. “‘Come and see the living dead!’”
The author’s old neighborhood provides the setting for his new book Pariah, in which the inhabitants of an apartment block attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse. While the novel is not short of gore—the very first page finds the driver of a colliding taxi cab bursting through his windshield “like a meat torpedo”—the result is as much social satire as it is splatterfest. “The living grow accustomed to the zombies,” says Fingerman. “I think New Yorkers are very resilient and that carried through to these characters. The other thing is that I figured, ‘The ones who weren’t resilient? They’re all dead.’ They got eaten!”
Fingerman has considerable experience in the horror genre. Pariah is actually an unofficial sequel to Zombie World: Winter’s Dregs, a comic book miniseries he wrote in the late ‘90s, “back before zombies were cool.” He also penned the 2007 vampire novel Bottom Feeder and has a short story featured in the new collection The Living Dead 2, alongside contributions from Max Brooks and Walking Dead scribe Robert Kirkman.
Who better then, as we drag our zombie-infected carcasses towards Halloween season, to recommend five horror novels? You can check out Fingerman’s picks after the jump.
Last week, author Lucy Jackson released her second novel Slicker, the follow-up to 2007′s Posh. Jackson said she wouldn’t label the book as chick-lit, because she believes it “has what [she hopes] is a depth to it.” But I think that’s arguably just semantics. If you like chick-lit, you’re going to like Slicker.
This time around, Jackson tells the story of Desirée Christian-Cohen, a native New Yorker, who packs her bags and escapes to Honey Creek, Kan., population 1,623, a place she found by closing her eyes and pointing to a map. Which I do believe is the scientific way of choosing a travel destination. At the same time, we learn about Desirée’s unhappy, recently separated mother, Nina. Dad, Patrick, just so happens to be gay and has taken up residence with his new boyfriend.
Please note: Honey Creek, Kan., is not a real town. Jackson did visit the town it was based on, but she wouldn’t tell me the name of the real Honey Creek. That secrecy mirrors Jackson’s own life. You see, Lucy Jackson isn’t even the author’s real name.
The real woman behind Lucy Jackson is established literary author, Marian Thurm. Thurm has published seven books under her own name, and has had seven short stories run in The New Yorker. Clint Eastwood even optioned one of her novels. But when she started Posh, which was modeled on the private school her children went to, she considered writing under a different name. Thus, Lucy Jackson was born. Thurm stopped by the EW offices to talk about her new book, and her alter ego, “Lucy.”
EW’s Jeff Giles may have liked Solar, Ian McEwan’s most recent novel—but not many others did. In the New York Times Walter Kirn lambasted the book, saying, “Instead of being awful yet absorbing, it’s impeccable yet numbing, achieving the sort of superbly wrought inertia of a Romanesque cathedral.” McEwan, long a critic’s darling, was clearly stung by the reaction. Yesterday he told the British newspaper The Telegraph, “I think…I caught America in a mood of profound boredom about climate change. They just didn’t want to hear about it any more, they were sick to the teeth.” I wasn’t a fan of the book (though I count Atonement as one of my all time favorites), but I have to say, I kind of admire McEwan’s creative defense of it.
Thoughts? Did any of you read, and like, the novel?
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