Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jason Goodwin

Jason Goodwin is the Edgar Award–winning author of the Investigator Yashim series. The first four books—The Janissary Tree, The Snake Stone, The Bellini Card, and An Evil Eye—have been published to international acclaim. Goodwin studied Byzantine history at Cambridge and is the author of Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire, among other award-winning nonfiction.

His latest novel is The Baklava Club, the fifth book in the Investigator Yashim series.

Recently I asked Goodwin about what he was reading. His reply:
For a writer who pitches my tales in the 19th century, I am ashamed to have never read any Turgenev novels – until last month, when I was lucky enough to pick up Fathers and Sons in an idle hour. It tells of how two boys from university, Arkady Kirsanov and his friend Bazarov, go home for a few weeks in the summer after being away in St Petersburg. They are determined young nihilists, outraging and delighting their families: Turgenev is brilliant at revealing character through dialogue, the story zips along, and it is by turns extremely funny, poignant and acute. I immediately went on to read The Home of the Gentry, which I enjoyed only a shade less. I tend to avoid books that end badly, but Turgenev is an exception.

I was in a foreign hotel and read Inferno, by Dan Brown. I like the way Brown just gets on with it – if he needs a character to cross the globe very, very fast he simply invents a new kind of aeroplane. With Inferno I became a new kind of reader, reading very, very fast by skipping three out of four pages. It’s like scrolling through Wikipedia at gunpoint. Angels and Demons worked better for me.

Today I’m starting the second of James Heneage’s Mistra Chronicles, set in the dying days of the Byzantine Empire. It’s a part of the world I know and love, and Heneage brings it to life: right now we’re in a nomad camp somewhere out on the steppe, and our hero may be starting to fall in love.
Visit Jason Goodwin's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Snake Stone.

The Page 69 Test: The Bellini Card.

My Book, The Movie: An Evil Eye.

--Marshal Zeringue