Thursday, October 4, 2007

Elise Blackwell

Elise Blackwell is the author of The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish and Hunger, chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best books of 2003.

Her new novel is Grub.

Earlier this week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Thank you for asking. I usually have a few books going simultaneously. Right now I’m in the middle of Nathan Englander’s The Ministry of Special Cases on the advice of the extraordinary readers who host “The Book Report” radio show and a Robertson Davies novel a friend promised would be fun.

Books I have recently enjoyed are Maggie Dietz’s poetry collection Perennial Fall and Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist — perhaps the first metafictional novel and a huge influence on Calvino.

Having recently started a book about art, I enjoyed reading Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and am often re-reading parts of The Story of Art, E. M. Gombrich’s charming crash course in art history.

I also just finished reading the revised manuscript of my husband’s forthcoming novel The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri, a literary mystery that should particularly delight those who love books.
Elise Blackwell is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina where she teaches creative writing and contemporary fiction. Her stories have appeared in Witness, Seed, Global City Review, Topic, and elsewhere.

Of her new novel Grub, Joe Queenan said: “In this deliciously mordant send-up of the publishing world, Elise Blackwell conjures up a universe filled with talentless novelists, reptilian publishers, unprincipled agents and brain-dead critics. Thank God this is only a fantasy. Thank God any similarity to real life is entirely fortuitous.”

Read more about Grub, including an excerpt, at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue