Well, this is lovely: “Ricocheting from the war-torn twentieth century to the reality-show-rich present day, the stories in this impressive collection feature characters buffeted by fate—or is it mere happenstance? The death of a circus elephant shapes generations of a small town; a passing remark ruins a plotted-out life. Our sense of history is probed, too, not without humor—Bach appears in a Manhattan living room one day, a spot of comfort in one woman’s post-9/11 life. In a series of shorter pieces, the author relates nuggets of family history and legend, including a story about young women in Budapest who used greasepaint to transform themselves into old women, in order to be spared at least one of war’s ugly realities.” See the review here.
In September and October, I’ll be teaching a four-sesson class on writing short stories in the beautiful Glen Rowan House on the campus of Lake Forest College (easily accessible from Chicago by Metra). Schedule and registration here.
The Austin Chronicle has chosen The Hundred-Year House for its second #ACReads pick. The discussion will take place on Twitter on August 25, from 7-8pm CST. I’ll be joining the chat at 7:45 to answer questions from readers. You don’t need to be from Austin to participate! More info is here.
“As readers move through the suspenseful, amusing and slightly crazy story–written in reverse chronology–they’ll understand the many intricate moves each character has made, until the full story is unveiled in the prologue at the end. Similar to the way an M.C. Escher drawing seems simultaneously nonsensical and rational, Makkai’s novel will keep readers on edge until the last piece of the puzzle drops into place and the whole brilliant picture can be seen at once, sharp and clear.” Read the full review here.
I’m thrilled to announce that my second novel, The Hundred-Year House, will be released from Viking/Penguin in the summer of 2014. Set on the Chicago’s North Shore, it is the story of a large estate (at one point an artist’s colony), told in reverse from 1999 to 1900. Stay tuned for more news…
The Borrower is now out in both French and Italian! The French translation, Chapardeuse, has been released by Gallimard; the Italian, L’Angolo dei Lettori Ribelli (literally: The Rebel Readers’ Corner) is available from Piemme. More soon on my upcoming visit to France to promote Chapardeuse!
“The November Story,” originally published last year in Crazyhorse, was featured on Public Radio International’s This American Life on August 26th. Click through here to hear me read the story (with funky radio music!) or to download the podcast of the whole episode. To read the entire (longer) story in print, including extended scenes about Markus the sculptor and his heart-shaped cage, order a back issue of the Fall, 2010 issue of Crazyhorse here. “The November Story” is part of my collection-in-progress, tentatively titled Music for Wartime.