Here’s a recap of the features that rounded out August on Fiction Writers Review:
- Tyler McMahon interviews Tatjana Soli, author of The Lotus Eaters. Says Soli:
I traveled in Asia briefly with my husband years before I thought of writing the book. Once I was deep into the research, I planned a trip to Vietnam that had to be cancelled due to a family emergency. But then a strange thing happened once I had the first draft down—I had this particular place so strong in my head, it was literally feeding the story. I was afraid that if I went to Vietnam that the difference between what was in my imagination and what I found in contemporary Vietnam would break the dream of the story for me. Going back to your research question, I found the right detail set off a chain of events; that was its value rather than strictlyMartin Sheen Apocalypse Now providing verisimilitude for the book.
- Lee Thomas reviews Marisa Silver’s collection Alone With You, calling it “as satisfying as the perfect meal – not a morsel more than you desire, each bite bright with the imaginative intent of the author, each element perfectly balanced in the way they enhance and better one another”:
Alone With You is populated with characters free of gimmickry, the fantastic or grotesque. These people have lives no more dramatic or horrible than your own, but Silver peels back the layers to the crises within the human heart […] Silver’s writing feels natural, anecdotal at times, and she has the assurance not to overpopulate the present with long description. Rather, she gives the reader an understanding of her characters’ pasts, slipping in details of relationships complicated by the passage of time.
- Lee Goldberg reviews This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper:
[Narrator] Judd’s observations might seem cruel, but they are also startlingly specific, keenly true. The novel’s real triumph is in transcending mere laugh-out-loud moments with the poignancy of Judd’s descriptions. Seeing (and mocking) others, he can’t help but examine himself.
- And finally, JT Torres interviews Peter Selgin. Discussing the line between fact and fiction, Selgin comments:
I would have published the thing [his debut novel Life Goes to the Movies] as a memoir, but too much shaping had been done—too many poetic liberties, too much “art.” And beyond that there were issues of privacy and the potential for libel. I feel I should add, by the way, that I don’t take the opposite view—that a work of fiction can or ever should be passed off as nonfiction. With fiction, you’re free to invent, but you’re also free to use facts and tell the truth; you can hardly avoid doing so. But with nonfiction you swear to tell the truth, mainly.