Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christine Wade

Christine Wade is a researcher and writer who fell in love with the Hudson River when she first attended Bard College and has lived on its shores in New York City and the Catskill Mountains ever since. Seven Locks, her first novel, won a James Jones Fellowship Award for an unpublished novel in 2009.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading.  Wade's reply:
Well, it is not hard for anyone to imagine that when you are researching and writing a novel you can only read books that pertain to it. But what surprised me as a first-time novelist is that during the production year it is also difficult to read randomly or at all. At times I like to read in a focused way: all of one century, all of Bloomsbury or The Beats, all of one author. But at other times I like to read randomly and jump around to books as I come upon them. It is interesting that even then reading themes emerge.

Both of my recent picks just happened to be about New York in the 70’s: Just Kids by Patti Smith and Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. Both books were standing upright among the librarian’s choices on the display table at my local library, albeit on different weeks. As a cruise through that era I definitely preferred the novel, which was much broader and ultimately deeper. It depicted many aspects of those times that Smith didn’t touch, and I think it said more about relationships too. I found Smith a little cagey---stylistically upfront and casual, seemingly honest but ultimately a low revealer. She writes well though and a tour through the downtown streets and art scenes of the day was worth the trip.

Let the Great World Spin had me hooked by page 60 because it quoted Rumi so joyously from the mouth of a character unlikely to read Persian verse and made her poetic outburst seem entirely authentic. McCann can make the unexpected believable: He is able to channel his inner sex worker from the Bronx and his radical liberation theology priest from Ireland and his enterprising single mother from Guatamala all in equal measure. And others too. He is a weaver in the way that epic story tellers are. And he connects the many threads that comprise a day in the not so distant, but distant enough past, to the cloth wrapped around our post 9/11 present. We have been here before and know the place, and are delighted to be here again. Though I barreled through the book to the finish, days later the voices of his cast of characters are still whispering to me as I walk the streets of New York, looking up between the tall buildings to the sky.
Visit Christine Wade's website.

The Page 69 Test: Seven Locks.

My Book, The Movie: Seven Locks.

--Marshal Zeringue