Monday, May 7, 2012

Gary Krist

Before turning to narrative nonfiction with The White Cascade and the newly released City of Scoundrels, Gary Krist wrote three novels--Bad Chemistry, Chaos Theory, and Extravagance--and two short-story collections--The Garden State and Bone by Bone.

A couple of weeks ago I asked him what he was reading.  His reply:
Right now I’m reading Stanley Karnow’s Paris in the Fifties. Karnow is a legendary journalist whose works on Vietnam, the Philippines, and China are monuments of historical reportage. In this memoir about his early days as a TIME correspondent in France, he’s in a lighter, more personal mode, as he reports on everything from the Parisian literary scene to the city’s demimonde of prostitutes, exotic dancers, and strip-tease artists (not to mention the frequent overlaps between those two worlds). I once had dinner with Karnow at a Chinese restaurant in DC, and it was the charming raconteur of this book whose company I enjoyed that night.

I’m also reading Normal People Don’t Live Like This, a collection of short stories by Dylan Landis, whom I met at a party recently. (This is not to imply that I read only books by people I’ve eaten with, but the message for writers should be clear—if you want to sell a few extra copies of your latest opus, chat up the person next to you at dinner.) I started my career as a short story writer, and I still try to keep up with the genre when I can. And Landis’s stories offer a fascinating glimpse into the truly strange minds of adolescent girls, in prose that’s sharp and often surprising.
Visit Gary Krist's website.

The Page 69 Test: The White Cascade.

--Marshal Zeringue