Saturday, December 23, 2017

Nicholas Montemarano

Nicholas Montemarano is the author of the novels The Book of Why (2013) and A Fine Place (2002) and the short story collection If the Sky Falls (2005).

His new novel is The Senator’s Children.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Here’s what I’ve been reading lately: plays, plays, plays, and more plays.

Several times a year I visit one of my favorite bookstores, The Drama Book Shop in New York City, and load up with plays. I see plays too—a recent favorite was Constellations by Nick Payne—but the truth is, I enjoy reading plays even more.

Novelists have much to learn from playwrights about creating and building scenes, showing rather than telling, and writing sharp, surprising dialogue. Some of the most innovative writers working today, in my opinion, are playwrights.

I’ve read many excellent plays recently, but let me mention one.

The play I just finished, which I loved, is This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan (who also wrote and directed the film Manchester by the Sea). Set in New York City in 1982, the play is about three college-age Upper West Siders who come from privileged but broken families. They’re fixated on drugs, sex, and their fading youth. They’re on the cusp of adulthood, but lost. The entire play is written in the poetry of the everyday, and it’s a thrill to read aloud. As one character says to his best friend: “Plus I’m like providing you with precious memories of your youth, for when you’re fuckin’ old…I’m like a one-man youth culture for you pathetic assholes. You’re gonna remember your youth as like a gray stoned haze punctuated by a series of beatings from your fuckin’ Dad, and like, my jokes. God damn!”
Visit Nicholas Montemarano's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Book of Why.

--Marshal Zeringue