Saturday, July 23, 2011

Will Lavender

Will Lavender is a graduate of Centre College with an MFA from Bard College. His debut novel, Obedience, was a New York Times and international bestseller. His novels have been sold in 13 countries.

Lavender's new novel is Dominance.

A few weeks ago I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I recently picked up Michael Crichton’s Sphere, a book that was recommended to me as “a good beach read.” I wasn’t expecting the book to do what it did. First, let me say that I love scouring used bookstores; I love the veiny-spined book, the lonely book that has been on the shelves for months and months, the book that was popular two decades ago. I like to sort of assume a different persona when I read these novels, imagine that I am living in a different era, the era when this particular book was hot off the presses. The book as time machine.

Like all great books, Sphere is a book that works on a multitude of different levels. What it is, though, is a page-turner. What it isn’t? Mindless entertainment. This book is the literary equivalent of a mind bomb, the sort of book that holds a kind of elusive mystery on nearly every page. Crichton has been criticized for being too commercial, for writing novels that were essentially movies on the page. And this is partly true. But he was also deeply inventive and off-the-charts intelligent; his books ooze with the kind of cerebral intensity you don’t find in beach books. Never.

When I came to that outstanding, creepy, ominous ending of Sphere, I put the book down and slowly, stubbornly returned to the Florida condominium I was staying in. But I had been on a long, strange trip—and I think this is all you can ask out of any book, whether it’s for the beach set or not: that it take you someplace else, that it pick you up and make you believe, for an instant, that you have inhabited a different world.
Visit Will Lavender's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Obedience.

--Marshal Zeringue