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Original Essays | Yesterday, 10:00am

Nick Harkaway: IMG The Florist-Assassins

The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
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    Nick Harkaway 9780385352413

The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson

Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »


Powell's Q&A

Brunonia Barry

Describe your latest project.
The Lace Reader is a heroic journey for women. The narrator, Towner Whitney, comes from a long line of women who can tell the future by looking through lace. Towner, who's unreliable at best, tells you never to believe her, that she lies all the time. She also tells you that she's crazy, which may or may not be true. What is definitely true is that she must come back to New England and face her past in order to move forward in her life.

  1. The Lace Reader
    $4.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Lace Reader

    Brunonia Barry
    "[A] most unusual and bewitching novel. Highly recommended." Library Journal

    "[C]aptivating....Barry excels at capturing the feel of smalltown life, and balances action with close looks at the characters' inner worlds. Her pacing and use of different perspectives show tremendous skill and will keep readers captivated all the way through." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "[A] wonderfully layered novel of gothic suspense....A captivating and smart debut with which to while away a summer afternoon." Lorraine,

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false?
I think that's true. My original idea was to be a journalist, but I found telling the truth without embellishment was limiting at best. I think my teachers knew long before I did that I was a fiction writer.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.

And no list could hold what I wanted, for what I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together — radiant, everlasting.
—Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women

How do you relax?
I like to swim, outside if possible in the ocean or in a lake. I live in New England, so pools are a must in winter. But my favorite swim is along the shoreline perimeter of a lake at about 6 p.m., when the water stills and the fish are beginning to jump. Swimming is a kind of moving meditation for me.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
I moved to Dublin when I was 20 to study James Joyce's Ulysses. I took a year away from college and just read and walked around the city where the book took place.

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Cold swordfish, grilled and left over from the night before. I'm not crazy about breakfast foods at breakfast time. Late in the day, I like them.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
My husband, my family, my golden retriever, a screened porch, summer, and water.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
I am just beginning my first tour. But I used to work at a studio that rented space to rock bands, so I know how crazy that can get. At this point, I have no plans to throw a TV out of a hotel window, but you never know.

Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Dogs. Whole packs of them.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five Great Books I Wish I Hadn't Loaned Out Because I Can't Remember Who Has Them, and I Want Them Back:

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy

÷ ÷ ÷

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry studied literature and creative writing at Green Mountain College in Vermont and at the University of New Hampshire. She has created brain teaser puzzles for Smart Games and lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her husband and their beloved golden retriever, Byzantium. spacer

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