novels Archive

“Ten Pounds of Potatoes in a 10-Pound Bag”: An Interview with Eileen Pollack

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Eileen Pollack’s stories are smart, big-hearted, and thought-provoking. We recently caught up via email to discuss the differences between novels and short stories—and how changes in society can help novels find their audiences.

On Crafting Presidential Narratives

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Martin O’Malley’s failed presidential bid is a novel that writes itself, and I’d write it tomorrow if my plot wouldn’t risk turning into fan fiction. A handsome, two-term governor gets bested by a woman and a socialist and suspends his campaign after receiving 0.5% of the vote in the

“It’s A Bit Mysterious, and I Like That”: An Interview with Frank X. Gaspar

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Frank X. Gaspar writes poems that are lyrical, powered by swift associations, and full of surprising images and leaps in thought that in retrospect make perfect sense. He is the author of five collections of poems, including Late Rapturous and The Holyoke, as well as two novels, most recently

Proxy Narratives: Jennifer Clement’s “Widow Basquiat”

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I’m always looking for a stellar book come November. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for the uninitiated) is about as appealing of an idea as having a month-long dental procedure and about as equally fun to be around. So, I mostly hide away. I do the opposite of what

From the Ploughshares Shelves: July Debuts

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Are you in the market for some top-notch summer reading, ideally from an exciting new author? Does your optimized, fast-lane lifestyle leave you no time to read full-length book reviews? If so, dear reader, rejoice: you are the target audience of the following bite-sized reviews, all of debut novels

Voice and Chorus: Cristina Henriquez and “The Book of Unknown Americans”

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I saw Cristina Henriquez read just a few weeks ago at Book Court in Brooklyn, where my poet buddy, Sally Wen Mao, took me after a long day in the city. Generally, I’m horrible at readings.  I’m the guy seated in the front row, probably running on three hours of

Novelists, You’re Doing It Right

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You’re trying to write a novel. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating: characters wake you in the night, yammering, springing into action. Sometimes, it’s excruciating: you stare into blankness, and finally, when the words arrive, they reek of your incompetence. It’s taking forever, this novel of yours. It’s ugly. It’s full of

One Year In—Writing The Novel: Julia Fierro

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After one year of writing my novel, I took stock of what I’d accomplished—which seemed like very little. Would writing always feel like flailing? How do novelists find their way through? For guidance, I turned to published novelists, whose interviews are presented in the One Year In: Writing the Novel series.

One Year In—Writing the Novel: Celeste Ng

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After one year of writing my novel, I took stock of what I’d accomplished—which seemed like very little. Would writing always feel like flailing? How do novelists find their way through? For guidance, I turned to published novelists, whose interviews are presented in the One Year In: Writing the Novel series.

Getting Back to Books: An Interview With David Mikics

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Let’s face it: there is a big, flashing world of distractions vying for your attention, trying desperately to keep you from that book  looking increasingly dusty and dejected on your bedside table. People scoff at the very idea of reading. In this crazy world, the argument goes, who’s got