Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dara Horn

Dara Horn's most recent novel is The World to Come.

Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished Christian Jungersen's The Exception, a novel about four women who work at a genocide research center. After two of them receive death threats, they begin unknowingly acting out the behavioral patterns they have researched that lead ordinary people to commit atrocities. That makes the premise sound like pure "afterschool special" material, but it's not like that at all -- the story is actually very suspenseful and raises all kinds of fascinating questions, and ultimately provides some extremely disturbing and wonderfully unredemptive answers. I'm waiting impatiently to find someone with whom to discuss it.

Next on my list is my sister Ariel Horn's second novel, which she just gave me in manuscript form. It's a middle-grade/young-adult novel about a girl who's convinced that her mother is a spy. My sister's first novel (for adults) was called Help Wanted, Desperately, and was a comedy about a young woman trying to find her first post-college job. It was pretty hilarious, so I'm looking forward to reading the new one. Since we write for such different audiences, we both occasionally give each other's characters cameos in our books, so I'm also looking forward to seeing where one of my characters might show up!
Dara Horn received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006, studying Hebrew and Yiddish. Her first novel, In the Image, published by W.W. Norton when she was 25, received a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The World to Come, published by W.W. Norton in January 2006, received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, was selected as an Editor's Choice in the New York Times Book Review and as one of the Best Books of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle, and has been translated into nine languages. In 2007 Horn was chosen by Granta magazine as one of the Best Young American Novelists. She has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard and at Sarah Lawrence College, and has lectured at universities and cultural institutions throughout the United States and Canada.

The Page 99 Test: The World to Come.

--Marshal Zeringue