Music for Wartime in The New Yorker

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.

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized on December 4 2015

Short story class (for adults) at Lake Forest College

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.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19 2015

New Reviews for MFW in Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Vanity Fair, and others

Music for Wartime has gotten raves in the Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Shelf Awareness, and elsewhere. Click through to read them in their entirety, or see the highlights here.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23 2015

The Austin Chronicle chooses THYH for #ACReads Twitter book club

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.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14 2014

Hundred-Year House featured in Time Magazine

Blink and you’ll miss it, but here it is!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14 2014

Starred Review on Shelf Awareness

“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.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19 2014

Announcing Novel #2!


This is not the hundred-year house. But it’s pretty!

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…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6 2013· Tagged: , , ,

The Borrower is now available in French and Italian!

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!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6 2012

“The November Story” on This American Life

“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.




Posted in Uncategorized on August 30 2011· Tagged: , ,

The Borrower FAQ


Okay, the ‘F’ part is debatable, as is the ‘A’ part, but these are definitely ‘Q’s. And I even answered them!

Continue reading ?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17 2011· Tagged:

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