Sunday, February 28, 2016

Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, Secrets of a Charmed Life (a 2015 Goodreads Choice award finalist) and A Fall of Marigolds, named by Booklist’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014. She is also RITA finalist and Christy Award winner. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Meissner is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When she's not working on a novel, she writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. Meissner is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m reading British author Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins and am nearly finished. I loved her previous novel, Life After Life, which is the very cleverly told story of a woman named Ursula Todd whose life keeps beginning and ending, again and again, as if she keeps getting a do-over so that she can be in a certain place at a certain time during the hell of WW2 and assassinate Adolf Hitler. This one, A God in Ruins, is a multi-time period look at one of Ursula’s brothers, Teddy, but Kate says in her Author’s Note that this book is not really a sequel to Life After Life, but should rather be seen as a continuation of one of Ursula’s many restarted lives.

Like Ursula’s story, A God in Ruins is another intellectual and wildly artistic novel that tosses conventional (linear) storytelling out the window. This book is not your typical novel construct, where Something happens and then Something else happens, and on and on we go in chronological order until the book ends. The story is told in parts that are loosely laced together. The sections skip about in time and character point of view and there’s just enough variety to necessitate paying attention. This book isn’t for someone who wants to be fed a story, but rather one who wants to discover one.

Kate’s prose is delicious and her wordsmithing skills are stellar. She can do what few writers can do and get away with it: break the rules. I recommend A God in Ruins to anyone who wants to read something that is not the average tale, told in the average way.
Visit Susan Meissner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue