Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Michael Kardos

Michael Kardos is the author of the novels Before He Finds Her (2015) and The Three-Day Affair, an Esquire best book of 2012, as well as the story collection One Last Good Time, which won the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for fiction, and the textbook The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Writer’s Guide. His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, and many other magazines and anthologies, have won a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and were cited several times as notable stories in Best American Short Stories. He was named by Library Journal as a Big Breakout Author for February 2015.

Last month I asked Kardos about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m researching my next novel, which involves a sleight-of-hand magician and a professional card sharp. So I’m currently reading (though “reading” isn’t exactly the right word: it’s more like wading through confusedly) one of the ur-texts of sleight-of-hand card magic, The Expert at the Card Table, first published in 1902 by an anonymous author with the pseudonym S. W. Ednase. The past century’s top card magicians all swear by this book, though a typically confounding sentence reads like this: “To cull four cards, numbers 3, 6, 2, 5 – undercut about one-third deck, in-jog first card and shuffle off. Undercut to in-jog, run one less than first number, in-jog running one more than second number, out-jog running one less than third number, and throw on top.” It’s not what you’d call a fast read.

I’m also reading a terrific memoir about professional card cheats, specifically about the quest for the holy grail of false deals, the “center deal.” The book is The Magician and the Card Sharp by Karl Johnson.

Finally, I’m midway through a 1958 novel by W. C. Heinz called The Professional. It’s about a journalist who’s covering the training of a middleweight championship contender. I forget who recommended it to me, but it’s very good so far, and I admire how it is unabashedly about boxing, with a subplot of more boxing.
Visit Michael Kardos's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Three Day Affair.

My Book, The Movie: The Three-Day Affair.

My Book, The Movie: Before He Finds Her.

--Marshal Zeringue