Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lauren McLaughlin

Lauren McLaughlin grew up in the small town of Wenham, Massachusetts. After college and a brief stint in graduate school, she spent ten “unglamorous” years writing and producing movies before abandoning her screen ambitions to write fiction full-time. Though she fondly remembers much of her time in Massachusetts—the marina, the beach, various teenage escapades—she cannot, for the life of her, remember her SAT scores, her GPA, or any of the numbers that once summed her up.

Her new novel, coming this month from Random House Books for Young Readers, is Scored.

Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Right now I'm taking a break from Swamplandia by Karen Russell to read Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. Swamplandia is about a family of alligator wrestlers in Southwest Florida and how they cope with a new theme park vastly fancier than their own. It's a rich and evocative story full of historical detail regarding the dredging of the wetlands. My parents live in that area and I've always been fascinated with the way the land was basically constructed out of swamp, as a kind of technological eruption. When the story began to veer into darker territory, however, I found myself dreading each turn of the page, not because it was badly written (it's wonderful!) but because I feared so much for the characters' fates. Now that I'm halfway through Netherland, I find I'm still wondering whatever became of those characters from Swamplandia, so I'll return to them soon. Ms. Russell had better be kind. That's all I have to say.

Netherland is largely about the sport of cricket, about which I know next to nothing. It's also about an English couple's experience of New York and, being married to an Englishman myself and having lived with him in New York for ten years, I'm finding a lot of the protagonist's experiences eerily familiar. It's a wonderful novel and I know I'll be recommending it to anyone who asks.

Once I've finished both of those it's on to Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star, which I'm pretty sure is about some kind of reincarnation of Jack the Ripper. I've already read the free teaser sample and, yup, I'm hooked.
Visit Lauren McLaughlin's website and the Scored Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue