Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Mary Westbrook’

Shop Talk |

Under the Influence… of Janet Peery

For me, the beauty of Janet (besides her flowing hair and karaoke skills, obviously) is that she forces students to name things, to make the abstract concrete. She won’t tolerate imprecise language, lazy writing, limp sentences.  I think her “Janet-isms” are in keeping with that. A lot of her funny sayings, some of them her own creations and others drawn from a lifetime of reading and study, concisely label common student writing flaws. Another former writing instructor once wrote in the margin of one of my stories, “I’m bored.” Fair enough. But, for me, that criticism was never helpful. After […]

Interviews |

New Ways of Looking at Old Questions: An Interview with Heidi Durrow

“I don’t mind that when I’m interviewed I am speaking as a representative of biracial women. I’m heartened that people are interested. I do wonder, though, when the book is critiqued as being not enough about the biracial experience. To that criticism I say, Well, okay, but it’s not a position paper. It’s a story. … I have had a number of people “come out” to me, for lack of a better word, about their blended families, or about their grief, or about simply being a young person struggling against the labels, like geek or nerd, that they’d been assigned by peers. … They’ve connected their own stories to the stories I’ve told and suddenly feel empowered to talk about it.”

Reviews |

The Wilderness, by Samantha Harvey

At the start of Samantha Harvey’s debut novel, The Wilderness, which won the 2009 Betty Trask Prize, Jake Jameson, the story’s aging protagonist, is high above the English moors, staring down from a biplane on a landscape he used to know. But when the sight of the pilot’s “thick neck” triggers a disturbing memory…Jake isn’t upset. He’s excited.The reason: Jake has Alzheimer’s. And so begins Harvey’s novel, which centers on Jake’s attempt to look back on his ordinary life through a near impenetrable fog.