Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in The Australian newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.

Monarch Beach, Hughes's first novel, is now out from St. Martin's Griffin.

Last month I asked her what she was reading.  Her reply:
I am a voracious reader, one might even say an obsessive reader. When I am not writing, parenting or walking the dog, I generally have my head in a book. I still read physical books because I like to cart them around with me. They become my companions and I am drawn to books with gorgeous, tantalizing covers.

Two books that have wowed me recently are Overseas by Beatriz Williams and Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon. Both have beautiful covers – Overseas’s cover is dark and dreamy and Wife 22’s cover features a bright orange daisy. Overseas is a remarkable romantic novel. It takes romance and goes big – an irresistible hero, a plucky heroine and a love that crosses a century. One of the things I love about Beatriz Williams’ novel is that it describes two people who would go to the ends of the earth for each other.

Wife 22 is simply irresistible. Every page is brilliant, funny and spot on. It is the story of Alice Buckle, a forty-something wife and mother who feels distanced and alone in her marriage. Alice’s reflections on life are pitch perfect and the cast of characters are finely drawn. Every time I wanted to put the book down, I would turn another page. I couldn’t stop reading it.

I’m only happy if I have good books to look forward to. The next book on my list is The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. I love books that combine history with fiction and it got a great blurb from Paula McLain who wrote The Paris Wife – a wonderful novel about Hemingway’s first wife. I also am looking forward to The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier. It seems to touch on some of the key points in fiction: friendship, mystery, motherhood and marriage.

Stay tuned and I’ll give you my report on them next month!
Visit Anita Hughes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue