Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kathleen George

Kathleen George is the editor of Pittsburgh Noir and the author of Taken, Fallen, Afterimage, The Odds (Edgar finalist, best novel), Hideout, Simple, and the newly released A Measure of Blood. The novels are set in Pittsburgh. The author teaches theatre and writing at Pitt.

Last month I asked George about what she was reading.  Her reply:
I recently read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and while I was reading I marveled at the way she kept narrative questions going. I kept talking back to the novel—“But he’s forgotten X!” “Or why doesn’t he just do Y?” This ability to maintain a narrative drive is one of her skills and it, along with a ton of research and her facility at close observation, makes her work complex and enjoyable.

I’m always asking what rivets me to a book. One of those answers is: when a writer makes me care about a character who happens to be not so good at caring for him or herself. Certain books put us in a helpless parental position. We see the trouble from a distance and can’t intervene.

This worry-reaction is happening to me now with a novel I’m in the midst of by author Charles McCarry who has been compared to Le CarrĂ©. He writes amazing spy novels. The Shanghai Factor has a protagonist who is a spy, drugged by sex, unaware of what he is in the midst of, seemingly a plaything for a number of people. Will he defend himself? Will he survive intact? And ... what is intact, after all?

Both these novels, the one I finished and the one I am reading now, use a first person narrator who humbles himself and makes us fret and worry and keep turning pages. This is one of the great delights of reading. Getting upset about a life that is being lived beyond our control. Funny, isn’t it?
Visit Kathleen George's website.

--Marshal Zeringue