His new novel is A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.
At the start of May I asked Mountford what he was reading. His reply:
I’m reading student stories. A lot of student stories. 180 stories, to be precise. I am a WITS writer (Writers in the Schools, which is a wonderful program that’s in many cities around the country; it puts professional writers into schools to teach and mentor students in creative writing). In Seattle, it’s arranged by Seattle Arts and Lectures. So, every semester I spend about ten days teaching a fiction-writing class to 9th graders at Shorecrest High School. Toward the end of the semester all 180 students turn in a 5-page story. Hence the phone-book-thick stack of papers that I’m working my way-through. The stories are very good this time, and I’d like to take credit for that, although I’m 99% sure it’s their teachers’ doing.View a trailer for the novel, and learn more about the book and author at Peter Mountford's website.
Next up, I’m reading or re-reading books about or set in Sri Lanka, because that’s where the next novel I’m writing is set. So I’m re-reading Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje and A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman. I have a few other books lined up, and I’m going hunting for other texts. Looking forward to reading maybe ten or fifteen books set in Sri Lanka this summer while I start drafting. This is the funnest part of writing a novel, I’ve found, when you’re just reading a lot and writing whatever pops into your head. It’s very playful.
Otherwise, I’m keeping Alexi Zentner’s incredible debut Touch on the bedside table, although I already recently read it. It’s just a gorgeous book, set in the wilds of Canada, it’s got some magical realism but isn’t silly. It has basically nothing in common with what I’m doing, and maybe that’s why I love it so much. I just like to watch Zentner do his thing, page by page, line by line. As a writer, it’s a lot of fun to read excellently done fiction, of course, just to sort of sit there and admire the choices that a striking talent makes.
The Page 69 Test: A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism.