Remainders: authors and places edition

  • Memoirist Mary Karr (The Liars’ Club) recounts an anecdote from her Texas childhood “about ‘the tile guy redoing their kitchen,’ who pried loose a tile with a round hole. ‘Now Miss Karr,’ he had told her mother, ‘that looks like a bullet hole.’ Her sister had inquired, ‘Isn’t that where you shot at Daddy?’ ‘No,’ her mother had replied nonchalantly, ‘That’s where I shot at Larry. Over there is where I shot at Daddy.'”
  • Michael Cunningham on why he decided against moving to New Orleans in his youth: “I thought, given what I know about myself, I might move to New Orleans and write a novel, or I might move to New Orleans and wake up at 75 with a cocktail in my hand, sitting on a veranda realizing ‘I guess that was my life.'”
  • Detroit-born Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex, discusses his recent move from Chicago to Berlin: “I view [Chicago] as a Denmark kind of place. Cold, well-run–a clean, beautiful, pristine city where you can have a nice life and bring up kids and not have a lot of stress. After living in Europe, Chicago reminds me of some of those cities…. I came here in a lot of ways, probably, because of Saul Bellow’s books and the Chicago that he conjured.” (Via Bookslut.)
  • At Conversational Reading, Atlanta writer Tayari Jones (The Untelling) compares the pitfalls of being “packaged” as a “southern writer,” as she was for her first novel, and as a “black writer,” as she has been this time around. On her first publicity tour, her publisher sponsored a dinner “where they would be featuring one of their new writers: the author of a magnificent work of art called Redneck Nation. As I sat there and listened to this guy crack tasteless joke after tasteless joke, I made a promise to myself: If he says the word ‘nigger’ one more time, in any context, I am leaving. He said it. I left. I was later informed that I lacked irony. That I could not take a joke.”


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