Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey is the author of The Blade Itself and At the City's Edge.

A couple of weeks ago I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I can only read one book at a time. It's a compulsion for me -- I need to be able to wrap myself in the world, to take in the whole of the story and theme. If I'm reading a couple at once, they get jarbled in my head, and I start drawing parallels between David Mitchell and Mitchell Smith, which, okay, is interesting, but also kind of overwhelming.

Right now, today, I'm reading Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem. It's one of those that was recommended to me so many times that I started to resent it, and so held off reading it out of sheer stubbornness. That was a mistake; it's great. Ostensibly a literarily-styled detective story, it's really an exploration of the mind, of the way that we assemble the world according to our own perceptions. It also manages to be at once funny and heartbreaking, a tougher trick than people realize.

I recently finished Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell, the story of the battle for heaven, Yaweh versus Satan, supported by a
whole host (sorry, couldn't help myself) of other angels. Besides being a fun read, it's a sophisticated political allegory, an examination of free will and the duty to rebel against good ends that require evil means.

The last book I read that really blew my hair back was probably Michael Cunningham's Flesh and Blood . Graceful, subtle, and astonishingly empathetic. I think Cunningham is one of the finest novelists working today. Better still, while all of his books are excellent -- and some are staggering -- I think his masterpiece is yet to come.

you're interested in what else I'm reading, I go through about 80 books a year, and post about the best on my website.
Sakey's first novel, The Blade Itself, was featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR, and chosen a New York Times Editor's Pick, one of Esquire Magazine's "Top 5 Reads of 2007," and made January Magazine's "Best of 2007" list. Rachael Ray loved it, too. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's production company has bought film rights for Miramax.

Tess Gerritsen said "At the City's Edge crackles and sears like a rip-roaring fire," and Library Journal's reviewer wrote that "Sakey's conspiracy and corruption scenarios twist together in startling ways in this ambitious thriller. It's fast paced from the get-go and just as good as Sakey's stellar debut."

The Page 69 Test: The Blade Itself.

The Page 69 Test: At the City's Edge.

--Marshal Zeringue