Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baby Teeth is her first novel.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman. I admit that even though I'd heard so many superlatives in regard to this book, it took a while before I was convinced to read it because the setting of a town that's obsessed with hockey didn't resonate with me. Once I started it though, I realized it was an effective device to explore some very timely issues. Perhaps because I grew up in Pittsburgh, where sports are an obsession, some aspects of the novel felt overdone and a bit stale – particularly the repetitive explanations of just how important hockey was to Beartown as a whole. However, I really enjoyed this book, and the thing I appreciated most was the breathing room. The story took its time, and along the way gave depth and detail to a breadth of different and uniquely sympathetic characters. As a writer of suspense, I often feel the pressure to give every part of my stories an urgency, and this novel was a reminder of the value of letting a story breathe and unfold in an unhurried way.

I'm currently reading The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir. I was interested in this book because of its intersection between a mega-religious family and reality TV. I'm familiar with some of these types of shows in real life, and always wonder to what degree the children are molded to behave a certain way – with extra pressure because of the cameras – when in fact they may hold different beliefs or life goals that contradict their parents and the footage that we're shown. This story very much taps into that, exploring how financial greed can be the true guiding compass, and how a teenage girl tries to salvage her own identity while living a life that's designed to be scripted.
Visit Zoje Stage's website.

--Marshal Zeringue