Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kate Racculia

Kate Racculia grew up in Syracuse, New York, where she played bassoon in her high school band. She received her MFA from Emerson and is the author of This Must Be the Place and the new novel, Bellweather Rhapsody.

Last month I asked the author about what she was reading. Racculia's reply:
The last book I fell in love with was My Misspent Youth: Essays by Meghan Daum. I don’t typically seek out essay collections, which may be part of the reason why this book—like David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again—totally blew me away. It felt so fresh yet so familiar, hysterical and smart and quietly heartbreaking. Her essay about being a lapsed oboist, “Music is My Bag,” sang to me, as a fellow former double-reed player myself (albeit a lapsed bassoonist). Whether she was explaining the no-man’s land that exists between a relationship online and in person, the literal and figurative cost of being a young professional writer, or her soul-deep aversion to wall-to-wall carpeting, I felt as though Meghan Daum had plugged her brain straight into mine and said, Hey, here is a new way to think. And also, hey, I think that way too.

Before My Misspent Youth, I’d been carrying on with Pamela Erens’ The Virgins, which I picked up after months of hearing its praises sung. I’m always skeptical of coming to a book with expectations—it isn’t fair to anyone—but in this case, even my expectations weren’t high enough. The Virgins gutted me. It’s a prep school story, a teenage love story, a story about privilege and who tells stories—who has the right, and who takes the right. And it’s a master class in point of view while simultaneously being an intensely beautiful, pleasurable read.
Visit Kate Racculia's website.

--Marshal Zeringue