Thursday, March 1, 2012

#1 Indie Next Pick Carol Anshaw and That Wonderful Conversation with Stephen McCauley (Oh, and She's Coming to Boswell on March 27th).

Several (well, two) years ago, we hosted one of my favorite writers, Stephen McCauley, at Boswell. I asked him at the time who were his favorite writers, and one of his picks was Carol Anshaw.

I'm thrilled to note that Carol Anshaw is coming to Boswell on March 27 for her novel Carry the One. It's the story of a car accident that happens during a wedding celebration and how this tragedy radiates out among the various characters over the years.

It's great to read this great conversation between Carol Anshaw and Stephen McCauley. Here's Anshaw on the growing acceptance of LGBT writers in literary fiction. She starts her new novel with a scene of two women being intimate, and what a change it's been from earlier novels. Carry the One is the #1 Indie Next pick for March 2012."I suppose I was testing the waters a bit. What I'm seeing, in terms of initial response, is that political and social climate change has made 2012 a more tolerant place. I remember the agent I had when I started out in the late 1980s asking why did I want to have a lesbian character in my book? And that wasn't in a tone that read, "Oh wow, why are you doing this cool new thing!?" And when my novel Aquamarine came out in 1992, I read at a women's bookstore way out in the suburbs of Chicago that had a room in the back for lesbian books. So no one passing on the street would see you so much as browsing. I think/hope those days are behind us."

Here's the rest of the interview.

And now a quote from Emma Donaghue, whose Room broke out in 2010:
"Here’s passion and addiction, guilt and damage, all the beautiful mess of family life. Carry the One will lift readers off their feet and bear them along on its eloquent tide.”

And from Alison Bechdel:
“Reading this book, I felt like I was watching someone cross a tightrope with the same relaxed, assured stride they would use on solid ground. Anshaw is in such graceful command that her story about three gifted, wounded siblings almost doesn’t feel like fiction. The traumatic accident that derails the characters’ lives as young adults is a sort of echo of the childhood damage they’ve already lived through. The ways that they do and don’t survive this are variously tragic, stark, and beautiful, but always utterly convincing. Along the way, the generous Anshaw doles out psychological acuity, antic humor, cultural critique and profound wisdom as the merest casual asides. It can’t be as effortless as she makes it look, but it’s a pleasure to soar with her, for a while, on that high wire.”

Mark your calendars twice, because Alison Bechdel is coming to Boswell for her new graphic memoir, Are You My Mother?, on Monday, May (not March as originally mentioned--thanks, Josh!) 7, 7pm

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