His novels have appeared on bestseller lists in 12 different countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy, and Australia, and he has won numerous prizes for his work, including a 1994 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and the 1998 Herodotus Award for the best historical novel.
Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I am in Helsinki at the moment and I am reading two books. The first is a novel by an Irish writer named Brian O'Doherty called The Deposition of Father McGreevy, published in Britain by Arcadia Books. It's about a remote Irish mountain village where all the women die of a mysterious disease, leaving the priest, Father McGreevy, to try to keep the men and their way of life going despite all the logistical and emotional problems . I'm not entirely sure where the narrative is going at the moment, since I'm only on page 57, but the writing is good and I'm intrigued. What exactly happened up there on top of the mountain that left the women dead?Visit Richard Zimler's website to learn more about his books, short stories, and reviews and interviews.
The second book I just picked up yesterday at a fantastic bookshop in downtown Helsinki. It's entitled Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day. It's a great idea: what would a traveler to Rome in 200 AD find and how would he or she spend his days? The book has chapters on Dining Out and What to Buy, as in a modern guidebook. I've read the first chapter, called "Getting There." It's full of surprising information and is written in an engaging style: who knew, for instance, that a person living in a Roman province needed an exit visa from his area of residence in order to go to Rome? If I ever decide to write about ancient times, I'm sure the book will be very helpful. It's published by Thames & Hudson.
The Page 99 Test: Guardian of the Dawn.