Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Michelle Brafman

Michelle Brafman is the author of Washing the Dead. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Tablet, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, Lilith Magazine, the minnesota review, and elsewhere. She teaches fiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program and lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

Brafman's latest novel is Bertrand Court.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst is a witty, wise, big-hearted, page turner about a family’s struggle to raise an autistic child. Parkhurst lasers in on the questions that nag many parents: To what lengths will we go to help our children thrive? How do we sustain our equanimity and instincts when a child is suffering? I felt for every member of this family primarily because Parkhurst conveys their collective and individual challenges via a seamless braiding of three characters’ perspectives, each representing a different time period and point of view. No easy feat, but she pulls it off.

100 Years of the Best American Short Stories edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor

I keep this anthology on my nightstand and read a short story or two when I find myself between books. I’ll reread a favorite like “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, “Friends” by Grace Paley, or Mary Gaitskill’s “The Girl on the Plane,” to name a few. I’ve also discovered many new gems like Julie Otsuka’s achingly gorgeous “Diem Perdidi.”

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani

When I stumbled upon The Garden of the Finzi Continis at my synagogue’s library, I grabbed it. I saw the film decades ago, but the stubborn hope and tragic fate of the socially exclusive Finzi-Contine family still haunts me. I remember how moved I was by their belief in their immunity from Mussolini’s anti-Semitic edicts.
Visit Michelle Brafman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Bertrand Court.

The Page 69 Test: Bertrand Court.

--Marshal Zeringue