Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rufi Thorpe

Rufi Thorpe received her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2009. A native of California, she currently lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and son.

Thorpe's new novel is The Girls From Corona del Mar.

Earlier this month I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Because I have a two-year-old and all my adult-time hours are spent writing, I tend to mostly listen to audiobooks. And so I do dishes, fold laundry, and walk the dog with my head half in this world, half in an invented one, and for this I prefer the biggest, thickest, goopiest novels available. Maybe you will not know what I mean by goopy-- I want them to be viscous and clotted with people and places, an overabundance of character and detail, things I haven't seen or thought about, parts of the world I'd like to explore. I just listened to The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, about an early female pioneer of botany. I just adored it. There are many delightfully erotic passages about female masturbation, a subject very seldom explored, as well as really nuanced and elegant examinations of those few abiding philosophical questions: time, mortality, the meaning of life. It is hard to make those things fresh and authentic, and Gilbert does. Other goopy novels I adore: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, anything by Philip Roth, and Ann Patchett, particularly State of Wonder. Oh, and the audio version of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is simply magnificent. It’s a must listen.

At night, I do read on paper after my son falls asleep, but I tend to choose slenderer novels where I want to focus solely on the prose. I just finished Maggie Shipstead's Astonish Me, and I was very impressed by it. She allows her ballet dancers to be true athletes and leaves all the known tropes about aspiring dancers behind, instead giving us a world where people have pushed their bodies to the edge of what is humanly possible in a way that also deforms their lives and their hearts. In its best moments, it reminded me of Willa Cather's Song of the Lark.
Visit Rufi Thorpe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue