Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tova Mirvis

Tova Mirvis is the author of three novels, Visible City, The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies and newspapers including The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, CommentaryGood Housekeeping, and Poets and Writers, and her fiction has been broadcast on National Public Radio. She has been a Scholar in Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, and Visiting Scholar at The Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center. She lives in Newton, MA with her three children.

Recently I asked Mirvis about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just got back from a week in Costa Rica and spent much of the week before my trip trying to decide what books to bring with me. In a rare move for me, I wasn’t brining my computer and knew there would be no book stores in the remote region where I was going to be. I was worried about being without books I really wanted read -- the vacationers equivalent, I suppose, of what books would you take to a desert island. I spent a long time browsing in my favorite bookstore, changing my mind a few times before I decided to go with two books that I hoped would be sure things.

The first book I read was Where’d You Go Bernadette, Maria Semple’s satirical and extremely entertaining take on motherhood, private schools, high tech careers, Seattle and much more. Constructed out of emails, FBI reports, school report cards and letters, the book tells the story of the unraveling of Bernadette, a one-time famed architect who pulls a disappearing act that involves the South Pole, the Russian Mafia, and over-zealous private school mothers. I loved the way the characters in the book felt so well-rounded and the story so whole, though it was patched together by such a variety of communications. In the end, I found that I was not only entirely amused but moved as well.

When I finished that, I read Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, a book that I’ve heard so much about, and I wasn’t disappointed. From the first sentence, I was hooked. A dying young actress arrives by boat in a small Italian town, and a young innkeeper with big dreams watches and is enchanted. “He would remain in love for the rest of his life – not so much with the woman, whom he didn’t even know, but with the moment.” The book moves between times and continents, but throughout, remains beautifully seductive.
Visit Tova Mirvis's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue