Monday, February 4, 2013

Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin.

Her new novel is The Mad Scientist's Daughter.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the author about what she was reading.  Clarke's reply:
The Little Sister, Raymond Chandler

Sometimes I get in the mood to read Raymond Chandler. I’m not sure why this happens, although I suspect it’s because I love his prose so much, especially the descriptions and the weird metaphors. At one point in this book, he describes a woman as smelling like “the Taj Mahal at night.” I mean, what does that actually smell like? But it does suggest a certain type of perfume, and I like the interesting quasi-synesthesia of linking a scent to an image.

A Paradigm of Earth, Candas Jane Dorsey

I was in a reading funk when my boyfriend suggested I try this novel. I’m moving through it slowly, alternating with The Little Sister, but I think this is the sort of book that’s best read slowly. It’s literary fiction masquerading as science fiction, centering around the relationship between an alien and a group of artists living in a Canadian co-op.

When I started reading, I’d assumed the book was written in the last year or so, but halfway through I learned it was published in 2002, over a decade ago! The book is set in the near future — so, right about now. Which makes it one of those the-future-according-to-the-past books, in a weird way. Dorsey is oddly prescient about some facets of life in the twenty-teens, and strikingly wrong about others. Either way, I find that disconnect between the once-future and the current-present enjoyable to read.

“Joyas Voladores,” Brian Doyle: I teach freshman composition for my day job, something I’ve been doing long enough that I have the reading list all but memorized. While I’ll generally do a cursory reread of the assignments, it’s not necessarily a requirement for me at this point. However, I always carve out time to spend with “Joyas Voladores.” It’s my absolute favorite essay out of our anthology — a short, devastating examination of the nature of human relationships. The writing itself is beautiful, more poetry than essay, and the structure is a marvel, moving from physical hearts to metaphorical ones. My students usually greet the essay with bafflement, and I love that I have the opportunity, semester after semester, to explain the wonders of “Joyas Voladores” anew.
Learn more about The Mad Scientist's Daughter and its author at Cassandra Rose Clarke's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Mad Scientist's Daughter.

--Marshal Zeringue