Friday, March 8, 2019

Andrew Ridker

Andrew Ridker was born in 1991. His first novel, The Altruists, is out now from Viking/Penguin. It will be published in seventeen other countries. He is the editor of Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Guernica, Boston Review, The Believer, St. Louis Magazine, and elsewhere. He is currently an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Recently I asked Ridker about what he was reading. His reply:
I recently finished Falconer by John Cheever. I’ve long admired Cheever’s short fiction, but Falconer was unlike anything I’d ever read by him—or anyone, for that matter. In theory it’s the story of a man, Ezekiel Farragut, who is sent to jail for murdering his brother. But Cheever is less concerned with crime and punishment as he is the strange assortment of men who populate Falconer State Prison. Many pages of this short novel are given over to anecdotes delivered by the inmates and staff. These mini-stories are remarkable feats of voice, eccentric and yet wholly believable. Cheever was never incarcerated himself, but he taught a writing class at Sing Sing once, and drew on countless details from that experience while working on the novel. Gritty, unusual, and sexually frank, Falconer is time well spent.

Next on the to-read pile is Vivian Gornick’s memoir Fierce Attachments and Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy. I loved Gornick’s The Odd Woman in the City, a memoir in fragments about living and walking in New York; it makes you feel as though no sensible person could live anywhere else. I’m a great admirer of Kureishi’s best-known novel, The Buddha of Suburbia, and by all accounts Intimacy is a brutally honest depiction of male selfishness and ennui—a turn-off for some, but catnip to me.
Visit Andrew Ridker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue