Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Author a Day for 30 Days: Day 30

Well this is it. This is our last post for our “An Author a Day for Thirty Days” idea. Hindsight? Well, this wouldn’t have been so taxing had it not followed directly on the heals of “Thirty Days of Good and Cheap Books,” which followed “Thirty Days of What You’re Not Reading.” That’s sixty ninety continuous days of posting, which means we overextended ourselves by about eighty-eight days.  Admit it, those first two days were pretty great.

So this is it. My last chance to really stick it to Liz, to make her green with envy that I chose an author, a great author, that she failed to recognize. No problem.

Last week I ripped through Claire Messud’s new novel (right now Liz is saying “shiiiiiiiitttt!"). The Woman Upstairs is a little piece of perfection; it’s a showstopper. [Dammit! I was going to write about this book next week! It's amazing.] In short, the novel is about a lonely woman who 'falls in love' with a family. Her relationship to them is all encompassing and awakens her sexually and artistically. The book’s editor promised that this would read ‘like a house on fire,’ and I have to agree, this was really difficult to put down, even more difficult to stop thinking about. It’s a rare book that makes it nearly impossible to start reading a different book, to move on.  This is one of those books.

The Emperor’s Children was my introduction to Clair Messud, a novel about a group of friends struggling with their lives (searching for something better) in the months leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

I think of Claire Messud in the same way I think about Philip Roth, Jennifer Egan, Martin Amis, Marilynne Robinson, or Mary Gaitskill. These are a handful of serious writers, really smart, serious writers capturing exactly what is relevant in the world at that exact moment. These are the books and these are the writers you really want to be discussing while guzzling that bottle of wine at book group. Writers like Messud pack layer on layer of what the kids in the 70’s called, ‘some deep shit, man.’

Hey, just realized that Clair Messud has written a couple of novellas. Maybe we should do “Thirty Days of Novellas!” Liz?

[...Shut up Gianna.]

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