Friday, January 2, 2009

Joan Wickersham

Joan Wickersham is the author of the 2008 National Book Award finalist, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order.

She also wrote the novel The Paper Anniversary, and her fiction has appeared in magazines including AGNI, Glimmer Train, the Hudson Review, Ploughshares, and Story, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. She has published essays in Glamour, Yankee, and the Boston Globe, and she has contributed and read on-air essays for National Public Radio’s On Point and Morning Edition.

Late last year I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I'm reading Great Expectations, for what I think is the fourth time. Of all the books I know, this one seems to expand the most with each re-reading. What I'm seeing this time is the perfect balance between self-delusion and self-awareness. You have patience with Pip's follies and vanities because he's so clearly writing from a later, rueful and wiser, vantage point; but the self-awareness he's gained isn't laid on thick enough to be priggish. You squirm at some of his actions while loving his voice. It's a book about getting things wrong, but he describes with such frankness, and in such vivid detail, and with so much yearning and humor, why and how he got things wrong, that you feel like the book itself gets it exactly right.
Read reviews and an excerpt from The Suicide Index, and learn more about Joan Wickersham and her work at her website.

--Marshal Zeringue