I've had a great time compiling a new feature on the website entitled Tracy's Places. In Pieces of Tracy, Tracy and her alter ego Felicia live in two real and identifiable cities. I worked to make sure that the locations were accurate and true-to-life. I've visited them all and in some cases I use my own photos as reference. This section will keep expanding, so make sure you check in frequently.
With the new movie edition of The Great Gatsby come spreads inVogue magazine, trailers on YouTube, a Brooks Brothers promotion, and re-newed attention in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 1925 novel, including the inevitable movie tie-in edition. The cover features star Leonardo DiCaprio front and center and metallic Art Deco lettering.
I'm all for introducing this marvelous book to as many readers as possible, but, in the opinion of one bookseller interviewed for the linked article, "It's just God-awful."
What do you think? I've reproduced the classic cover (which in all fairness was once called, "garish") cover below to prevent my eyes from bleeding.
So you're visiting Rome and want to see the new pope, Francis? This article breaks down your options, including travel companies, tour guides, and (I didn't know about this) The Pope App!
Although I haven't seen any pope in person, it's helpful to know that he's only a click away in our modern day of wonders. I understand he likes to Tweet as well.
Although it's still a month before the official release of Pieces of Tracy, the book is available for review on NetGalley.
And if you're on Goodreads, don't forget to let all of your friends know you're excited about it by adding Pieces of Tracy to your to-read shelf.
I'm so thrilled to be sharing this story with you. Thank you for all the encouraging words. There's lots more to come!
Over the weekend I completely enjoyed this feature on John le Carre, billed as, "the pre-eminent spy writer of the 20th century." At 81, he's about to release his 23rd novel, A Delicate Truth. With so many years of acclaimed story-telling behind him, including blockbusters like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, under his belt, it's comforting to know he is still at the top of his game.
I first read le Carre (real name: David Cornwell) in high school and remember feeling completely awestruck by The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, with its bleakness and ability to depict the tedium and moral ambiguity of the spy trade. It served as quite an antidote to Ian Fleming's slick escapism. Luckily, there's room for both approaches in the pantheon of spy writing.
I also enjoyed this bit in the article: He has boiled his late life down to four pleasures, which he not long ago summed up this way: “I write and walk and swim and drink.”
In response to questions about the origins of my book, I wrote a little essay about the impetus behind the writing of Pieces of Tracy. I hope you find time to read it and will let me know what you think in the comments section.
My favorite novel last year was Jess Walter's accomplished Beautiful Ruins, a large part of which takes place in...Italy. A turns romantic, poignant, hilarious, and satirical, it also employs a wide variety of narrative techniques. Through Goodreads, fans of the book (Like your truly!) had a chance to ask Jess Walter questions about the book, about his writing habits, about what's next. The video below provides some wonderful insight into the origins of the book as Jess answers all manner of questions. He's definitely someone you'd like to have a couple of beers with.
The painting at the center of Pieces of Tracy is a Matisse painted during World War II. Although art news has been dominated this week by the 1 billion dollar (that's right, billion!) gift of cubist masterpieces left to the Metropolitan Museum by Leonard Lauder, I found this article about a Matisse quite fascinating.
The disputed Matisse (painted in 1937) is at the Henie Onstad Arts Center in Norway but the family of French gallery owner Paul Rosenberg claims it was stolen from them by the Nazis. The Rosenberg family and the museum are in talks to determine ownership. The article mentions that the Rosenbergs have been busy searching for more than, "400 items looted by the Nazis and scattered around the world."
Every painting has a story, the stolen ones in particular.
What propitious timing. The May issue of Vanity Fair has a cover story on Audrey Hepburn's life in Rome. The article discusses a new book, Audrey in Rome, written by her son, Luca Dotti, who writes about Hepburn's lifelong romance with the Eternal City. Long associated with her role in 1953's Roman Holiday, Hepburn married Andrea Dotti in 1969 and settled down in Rome where she lived until 1986. The article has some beautiful photos and includes reminiscences by Dotti of his mother's time there.
So wonderful to see Rome on the cover of such a prominent American magazine. Clearly, Hepburn was not alone in her affection for this timeless city.