Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kim McLarin

Kim McLarin is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels Taming It Down (1999), Meeting of the Waters (2001), and Jump at the Sun (2006), all published by William Morrow. McLarin is also co-author of the memoir Growing Up X with Ilyasah Shabazz. Jump at the Sun was chosen as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. The novel was also nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and selected by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book.

McLarin's new book is Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men and Midlife.

Last month I asked the author about what she reading.  Her reply:
Right now I'm reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I plucked it out of my bookshelf one night last week, when I was hungry for a novel and realized I hadn't been to the library or the bookstore recently. (I do own an iPad and have downloaded a few ebooks from the library, but it's not the same for me.) I've been trying to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and also to finish The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Both of these are brilliant, necessary books but one of my problems with nonfiction is that once I know the central argument -- mass incarceration serves as a deliberate form of social control along the same line as first slavery and later Jim Crow, and The Great Migration, respectively -- it's hard for me to muscle through the work itself. That's probably a personal failing, but it's also why I love fiction. I read fiction not for the message but for the experience. The experience of so much, but especially of being human through another human being's eyes. It's the closest we ever really come.

So I went shopping on my bookshelves, which I sometimes do. I plucked the McCullers because I couldn't remember if I had ever really actually read it. Now that I'm about halfway through I think I probably began at some point and drifted away. This is one of those famous books that you can't say anything bad about or people will jump down your throat but it's not really holding me. Her writing, especially for a first novel, is assured and graceful, the story is certainly ambitious and the tragic themes of loneliness and alienation in Depression-era America are clearly etched. But it's just not holding me. Which is fine. Not every novel is for everyone. Sitting right beside it on my bedside table is One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I have read and do remember and cannot wait to read again. So I think I will.
Visit Kim McLarin's website and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kim McLarin and Stella.

--Marshal Zeringue