Authors, if you'd like to be part of 5-in-5, let me know. Since next week I'll be busy with the Pieces of Tracy Blog Tour, 5-in-5 will be taking a break.
I've just started to re-read The Iliad as some research for a new book I've been working on. Back in my freshman year of high school I read a terrible translation that my school bought for us, but this time I'm reading the gorgeous Robert Fagles translation and I'm loving it. I've decided I want my next book to be an epic, and I'm trying to absorb as much of Homer's lyricism as possible!
2. What book made you cry the most (and why)?
Probably Tender is the Night which I also just finished re-reading. Dick Diver is so heartbreaking, so much more charming and relatable even than Gatsby. His whole tragic unraveling made me sad, but what really got the waterworks going was the final paragraph... he just sort of recedes pathetically until he's lost forever.
3. What book are you looking forward to sharing with your newborn son (and why)?
We've been reading him A Wind in the Willows since he was still in the womb but we're almost done now. I'm really eager to read him Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, both books I used to teach in a class on the Literature of Childhood and which I really believe are untouchable masterpieces - but moreover they're just fun.
4. Advice for an unpublished author?
Write the book you always wanted to read but haven't seen on the shelves. Don't shy away from something because it might be too challenging or because you think people won't get it. There's plenty of safe stuff getting published, but how much of it does anyone remember three months later? With Leopards I had a dozen agents and a few editors turn the book down because it was too unconventional or because they didn't see an audience for it. Some thought it was too commercial and some thought it was too literary... and in the end it turns out there are plenty of readers who like both big ideas about the nature of fiction and still like a compelling story and characters. I knew I couldn't be the only one who did.
5. What's next for you?
Aside from learning how to be a father this summer, I'm also working on a second novel right now, The Murphys' Odyssey, about a group of young friends living in Manhattan who come together in the face of a great (should I say epic?) personal crisis. I don't want to say too much about it while I'm still writing it, except that it's coming along very very well so far and I'm eager to share it with readers who loved my first novel.