Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hannah Pittard

Hannah Pittard is the author, most recently, of the novel Listen to Me, which was a New York Times Editors' Choice, a Washington Post Best Summer Thriller, an Entertainment Weekly Seriously Scary Summer Read, a Millions Most Anticipated Book, a Lit Hub Buzz Book, and a Refinery 29 Best Book So Far.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Pittard's reply:
My reading life is all over the place right now. On my nightstand are The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Nancy Jo Sales’ American Girls, and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, all of which I’m actively reading. But the book I want to say something about is that one I've only just finished and have therefore already (and somewhat wistfully) re-shelved. This is Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel. It’s the story of Angel, an impetuous young woman (we meet her in the last year of Queen Victoria’s reign) who is determined to become an admired and famous writer. She does become a famous author but she is never admired, at least not by critics, whose approbation she both scorns and craves. The story follows Angel from her teens to her death and her arc is both gut-wrenchingly sad and heartbreakingly hilarious. On nearly every page, I found myself dog-earing or underlining passages I hope to return to again and again. But here is one, towards the end, that is nearly perfect in its distillation of Angel’s interiority:

“Perhaps she saw nothing as it was, everything as it should have be, though doubtless never had been; thought she retained whatever her hands had once touched: fame, love, money. Like a fortune-teller in reverse, he knew what she had been, and could tell what she had had by her assumption that it was all there still."
Visit Hannah Pittard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue