Upstairs at the Strand: Writers in Conversation at the Legendary Bookstore

Edited by Jessica Strand and Andrea Aguilar. Norton, $15.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-393-35208-5
Since the Strand Bookstore in New York City opened its rare book room in 2003, it has hosted numerous writers there in conversation. This fascinating book collects 12 of those conversations. Biographers D.T. Max and Blake Bailey discuss Bailey’s biography of Charles Jackson and various methods for structuring their work. Rachel Kushner, Hari Kunzru, and Rivka Galchen debate everything from stereotyping and irony to inspiration. Poets and old friends Mark Strand and Charles Wright chat about the struggles of creating new work. Katie Roiphe talks with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel about the way their families react to their work. George Saunders reveals to Deborah Eisenberg that when he was starting out as a writer, he had a “medical condition called a ‘Hemingway boner.’ I just loved him.” Some conversations are less interesting than others, but overall the level of insight remains high. One of the greatest values of these interviews is that they focus on the books at hand and strive to uncover what is best about each writer’s work. Ranging from Junot Diaz’s talkative, casual style to Charles Simic’s easy conversational poetry, this assortment of literary interviews brings together the voices of some our best writers and leaves the reader wanting more. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-393-35209-2
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