Friday, April 1, 2016

Kristi Abbott

Kristi Abbott, who also writes as both Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr, lives in northern California, although she was born in Ohio like the heroine of her new novel, Kernel of Truth. She loves snack food, crocheting, her kids, and her man, not necessarily in that order.

Recently I asked Abbott about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross. I’ll be honest. I don’t remember how it made it onto my TBR list, but it was there and the library had it so voila! I love books that use point of view in interesting ways (maybe it was on a list for that?). Ross does alternating first person point of view chapters. I know that’s not revolutionary, but she pushes the envelope. Each chapter is no more than two to four pages long. While most of the chapters focus on three main characters, there are occasional chapters from characters we’ll never hear from again. Or maybe we’ll hear from them a handful more times. Ross does an amazing job of keeping all those voices distinct and unique. The quick chapters kept the pace of the book moving quickly. It’s a deeply contemplative book and could have dragged without that. As it was, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

I listen to a lot of audio books. I got in the habit when I was driving a lot for a job and have never given it up. I’m nearing the end of listening to T.C. Boyle’s The Harder They Come. The Harder They Come has three narrators. It’s told in third person so I didn’t get that immediate identification with each character that I got with the Klein book. What’s fascinating to me is how deeply Boyle gets into the minds of these three characters. They’re very different people with very different world views, despite the fact that their lives are intertwined. Boyle has a way of showing how the narrators’ ways of viewing the world and their places in it influence their behavior. Because of the use of third person, the voice of the novel doesn’t really change with each narrator, but each one sees things so distinctly that it’s always clear whose head I’m in. It’s a fascinating read.

I just started Ann Anderson’s Four Chambers. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m loving it. I’m one of those weird grown-ups who likes to read young adult novels. Adolescence is such an intense time of life with so much drama and the genre reflects that. As I said, I’ve only just begun to read Four Chambers, but so far it’s narrator leaps off the page. The voice is terrific. Smart-alecky, self-aware, flawed but lovable. The structure is also very cool. The narrator has just had a heart transplant and each section is named after a part of the heart.
Visit Kristi Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Kernel of Truth.

My Book, the Movie: Kernel of Truth.

--Marshal Zeringue