When a celebrated Brazilian author goes missing in Idra Novey’s spitfire debut, Ways To Disappear, her American translator Emma takes it upon herself to find a woman who may not want to be found. Joining her children in the search, the translator soon finds herself tangled in the author’s messy, escaped affairs. The resulting novel is, in equal parts, mystery, comedy, social commentary, and maybe another part hilarity. Keep reading to find out more about what makes the novel’s author tick:
Kati Heng: Of course, your novel gets me interested in translators, a hugely important part of the literary world readers often forget about. How did you get started as a translator? Is it something you want to continue to do as you (we hope) write more of your own novels? Continue reading
Imagine a place where stories continue after the teller stops talking, the characters continue to move and exist and even question that very existence after the narrator has left the scene. Imagine an island where women are so scarce, men instead date human/animal hybrids, learning the troubles and joys of falling in love with a half-swan. Imagination, stretched to its very fantastic ends, is key in Heather O’Neill’s new collection of short stories, Daydreams of Angels, a collection that explores these premises and more. I got the chance to talk to the woman the literary world has nicknamed the “demented angel with an uncanny knack for metaphor” about the inspiration behind these stories, her own relationship to fantasies and more:
Laurie Foos’ latest novel, The Blue Girl (Coffee House Press), is a story centered around secrets, most notably, that of the Blue Girl herself. A mysterious child living near the waters of a small lake town, the Blue Girl—whose skin is truly a cerulean shade for reasons unknown to both readers and the novel’s other characters—is a fascination for the teens of the town and a confidant for their mothers. Told from the perspective of several of these mothers and daughters, the stories of the Blue Girl and the women themselves, of all their secrets and tragedies, are slowly revealed throughout the semi-magical narrative.
I got the chance to ask Foos more about this Blue Girl, the power of secrets, and the fears she has about her own daughter entering her teenage years:
Author Laurie Foos
Kati Heng: Probably the question everyone asks yet you don’t want to answer—do you have a reason in your mind for what caused the Blue Girl to turn blue? Continue reading
The stories in On the Way, the new collection from Chicago author Cyn Vargas, come from a place of pain. Broken marriages, broken homes, lost mothers and distant fathers swirl in and out of the stories, told through a variety of narrators (though most often, those narrators are girls between the ages of nine and thirteen). Throughout the pain and failed relationships, Vargas creates a picture of something deeper than love: a loyalty, a responsibility, and a connection that outlasts the fun times.
I talked to Vargas about the stigmas of writing fiction close to your own story, the draw of a pre-teen perspective, and how often, love isn’t everything.
Author Cyn Vargas
Kati Heng: I’m curious about your connection to Guatemala. You mention it in a number of stories, set some there. Have you been? Do you have family there?
Halle Butler’s Jillian’s the lucky thrill of a story, a first novel bursting out of its publishing gates with some of the funniest, grittiest and most devourable prose you’ll find all 2015. The story of Megan, a depressed and anxious 20-something slacker working at a dead-end job at a gastrointestinal doctor’s office, and her chatty coworker Jillian who’s about to descend on a financial meltdown after adopting a new dog, the novel revolves around attitudes—from the depths of Megan’s sarcastic remarks to Jillian’s “The Secret”-inspired too-wishful thinking. Continue reading