Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Maryanne O'Hara

A graduate of Emerson College's MFA program, Maryanne O'Hara was a longtime associate editor at Ploughshares magazine. Her short stories have been published in Five Points, The North American Review, The Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth.

Her newly released debut novel is Cascade.

Last month I asked O'Hara what she was reading. Her reply:
My favorite books of the past year have easily been Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Nicole Krauss’s Great House, and David Grossman’s To the End of the Land—all of them masterful meditations on time and memory.

A recent gem I also really enjoyed was Jane Gardem’s Old Filth, about a British former Raj orphan looking back on his fractured life. The writing is precise and clear, the dialogue quite perfect; I found myself a bit heartbroken at the end. (Note: Must read more Jane Gardem.)

I don’t normally read psychological thrillers but one day I was out with the Penguin rep and mentioned I had Irish citizenship. He asked me if I knew the work of another Irish writer, Tana French, and when I said I didn’t, he sent me her books. I’m on her 4th, most recent book now, and I can tell you they’re all a bit wordy to start, but soon enough, you cannot put them down. Her voice is compelling and strong and articulate, but I especially admire how she has her finger directly on the pulse of Ireland. When the first two books were written, the Irish economy was still riding high. Now it’s in ruins, and Broken Harbor’s tough tale is all the more harrowing for being set within the context of a country's broken dreams.
Visit Maryanne O'Hara's website and Facebook page, and view the Cascade trailer.

The Page 69 Test: Cascade.

--Marshal Zeringue