Monday, May 30, 2011

Will Allison

Will Allison's debut novel, What You Have Left, was selected for Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, Borders Original Voices, and Book Sense Picks, and was named one of 2007's notable books by the San Francisco Chronicle. His short stories have appeared in magazines such as Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, and One Story and have received special mention in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories anthologies. He is the former executive editor of Story.

His new novel is Long Drive Home.

A few weeks ago I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I've been catching up on the latest work of some writers I'm fortunate enough to call friends.

I'm about halfway through Andrew Foster Altschul's new novel, Deus Ex Machina, a behind-the-scenes story of a fictional reality show. It's as brilliant and confidently written and funny and ambitious as Andrew's first novel, Lady Lazurus, which blew me away.

Before that was Lauren Grodstein's latest novel, A Friend of the Family. I felt a strong kinship between it and my own new book--both are set in northern New Jersey, both are about families coming apart, both portray deeply flawed fathers--only I liked Lauren's a lot better. She does marriage and family like nobody's business, and the pace and tension of the novel are just about perfect.

Before that was Bruce Machart's The Wake of Forgiveness, a literary work of the highest order that also manages to be, seemingly effortlessly, an epic historical family drama and one hell of a page turner. This book deserves prizes.

Next up is Brock Clarke's Exley (which, based on a sneak peek, I'm expecting to love as much as I loved An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England); Mark Childress's Georgia Bottoms (Mark always makes me laugh as he's breaking my heart); and Leslie Daniels's debut, Cleaning Nabokov's House, the opening pages of which have a voice so strong, I almost missed my train stop one night.
Learn more about the book and author at Will Allison's website.

The Page 69 Test: Long Drive Home.

--Marshal Zeringue