The Paris Review // Interview with Laura van den Berg

July 24, 2018

My interview with Laura van den Berg ran at The Paris Review Daily on July 24, 2018. Here’s an excerpt:

INTERVIEWER

Your book contains a fictional zombie film. What will be your own strategy for surviving the inevitable zombie uprising?

VAN DEN BERG

Zombies have nothing to lose, which makes them formidable adversaries. Destruction is their only plan. Ideally I’d come across an eccentric with a secure underground bunker where we could ride out the disaster with Netflix and tinned fish. Otherwise, I would plan to stay away from other people, find myself a baseball bat, and keep moving at night. I’ve been boxing for the last eight months, which is not all that useful for self-defense—you don’t want to get too close! But it means I have decent physical stamina, which would be helpful if these are the kinds of zombies that please the zombie purists—i.e., the lurching kind. Though zombies are like death itself—you can only outrun them for so long.

New York Times Book Review // Feast Days by Ian MacKenzie

May 18, 2018

My review of Ian MacKenzie’s novel Feast Days ran in the New York Times Book Review on Sunday May 8. In wrote, in part:

“In 1995, an American newspaper editor in Budapest told me I could differentiate between economic migrants and expatriates by the kinds of parties they — or, more correctly, we — attended. That obnoxious comment came back to me while reading ‘Feast Days.’ The willful us-versus-them otherness in which these Americans participate threatens to blind them to the shared humanity that binds banker and revolutionary, policeman and protester. MacKenzie makes clear what Emma might not always see: that her life stands in stark contrast to those of both newly arrived Haitians and impoverished Brazilians. Expatriate novels often reveal far more about their characters’ homelands than they do about their presumably exotic destinations. ‘Feast Days’ does likewise.”

The entire review is here.

Tin House // Interview with Tayari Jones

January 18, 2018

My interview with my friend former grad school teacher Tayari Jones is online at Tin House.

“I started thinking about other novels by women that questioned the idea that women’s first (and only) priority is to be a good wife and mother. These novels were primarily by white women. They just get tired of being domesticated and go do something else. Trigger the applause.”

 

New York Times Book Review // Disasters in the First World by Olivia Clare

July 28, 2017

I reviewed Olivia Clare’s debut story collection Disasters in the First World for the New York Times Book Review.

“The best of the 13 stories in Olivia Clare’s debut collection flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular — “Pétur” and “The Visigoths” — will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come.”