Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘research and history’

Interviews |

New Histories: An Interview with Tim Weed

“Here’s the thing about writing historical fiction: you’re not trying to reconstruct or mimic history, which would be altogether boring even if it weren’t impossible. What you’re trying to do is to create a new version of it that will tell a good story while simultaneously capturing something essential, not only about the period, but also about contemporary life.”


Shop Talk |

Shout-Out: Erika Dreifus on remembering the Munich Olympics

Over at The Jewish Daily Forward, FWR Contributing Editor Erika Dreifus has written a moving piece about the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics of 1972 and how this event found their way into her fiction. Erika writes about how her classmates challenged her use of this history: When I workshopped “Homecomings,” several classmates thought that my inclusion of the 1972 Munich Olympics was extraneous. The story of Jewish refugees returning to their homeland was “powerful enough,” they argued. My story “didn’t need” the added layer of history I’d given it. Incredulous, I broke the cardinal workshop rule […]


Interviews |

Letting Tinkerbell Die: An Interview with Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem discusses our unwillingness to let go of the Tinkerbell-myth of benevolent power, MFA programs, the idea of New York City as a Ponzi scheme, why in some ways subcultures are all that exist, and his past and future work in this wide-ranging interview with Roohi Choudhry.


Interviews |

A Parisian Reliquary: An Interview with Elena Mauli Shapiro

A shoebox full of the mementos of a Parisian woman Sparked Elena Mauli Shapiro’s debut novel, 13, rue Thérèse. The objects fall into the hands of a fictional researcher, and through the sifting of photographs, letters and souvenirs a life emerges. Steven Wingate and Shapiro discuss research, happy accidents, and the power of what we save.


Shop Talk |

Researching the details in fiction

Mary Roach is my favorite nonfiction writer—partly because she’s wickedly funny, and partly because we share the same fascinated appreciation for the absurd. I’ve been a huge fan since her first book, Stiff, which is about the various uses of human cadavers. In it and all her other books (Spook, about science and the afterlife; Bonk, about science and sex; and Packing For Mars, about manned space exploration), Roach unearths details that are just too crazy to make up—such as the fact that a dead pope is struck on the forehead with a special hammer to be sure he’s really […]


Reviews |

The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas

Lee Thomas calls Michael David Lukas’s debut novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, an antidote to mid-winter malaise with “sun-drenched marble, the heat and clamor of the bazaar, and a warm, salt breeze off the Sea of Marmara.” The book features a precocious prodigy, eight-year-old Eleonora Cohen, as a guide through Lukas’s tale of political intrigue in late 19th-century Stamboul.


Interviews |

Stalking the Inner Celestial: An Interview with Michael Byers

Michael Shilling’s interview with Percival’s Planet author Michael Byers delves into the fascinating characters – both historical and imagined – that populate Byers’ novel, which deals with the 1930s discovery of Pluto. Shilling says, “Reminiscent of such lightweights as James and Welty, Byers’ work shines with studied and infuried illuminations of the imperfect spirit; he can map out this process of inner grappling with a lovely, intense, and disciplined artistry.”




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