Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tom Sweterlitsch

Tom Sweterlitsch was born in Iowa and grew up in Ohio. His first novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow was published in 2014. He has co-written several short films with Director Neill Blomkamp for Oats Studios including Rakka, Firebase, and Zygote. Before becoming a writer, he worked for the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped for twelve years. Sweterlitsch's new novel is The Gone World. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Sweterlitsch's reply:
I’m reading two books right now, kind of going back and forth between them: Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, and Three by Flannery O’Connor, by…Flannery O’Connor.

Three by Flannery O’Connor is an older “Signet Classic” paperback that collects Flannery O’Connor’s three novels: Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, and Everything That Rises Must Converge. I’ve long been a fan of Flannery O’Connor’s writing, both her brilliant short stories and these challenging novels. Wise Blood is a novel of deep religious searching, with charlatan preachers and false idols and prophets for the “Church Without Christ.”

Return to the Dark Valley is the third novel I’ve read by the Colombian author Santiago Gamboa, all three in translation and published by Europa Editions. I found his first novel in translation, Necropolis, only because the cover art/jacket design caught my attention—I can’t even remember where I bought it. At any rate, I bought this book because of the mysterious cover image of a luminous hotel hallway, but it turned out to be one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read, about a writer invited to an academic conference on “biography,” held in a luxury hotel in Jerusalem. There is a central mystery but also stories-within-stories as the various conference attendees give their presentations. Return to the Dark Valley is also a mystery, and also about stories and literature—it’s a companion book to his novel Night Prayers. Gamboa’s written several books but I think only these three have been translated into English so far. I highly recommend reading his books.
Visit Tom Sweterlitsch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue