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Original Essays | July 22, 2014

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

Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers

I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »


Powell's Q&A

Elinor Lipman

Describe your latest project.
My latest book, My Latest Grievance, is my eighth novel; it's narrated by Frederica Hatch, who was raised in a college dormitory, the daughter of two professors who are also house parents and very earnest agitators. Things go a bit haywire when Laura Lee French — new housemother, homewrecker, and ex-wife of Frederica's dad — arrives on campus and wreaks some emotional havoc.

  1. My Latest Grievance: A Novel
  2. The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
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  3. The Inn at Lake Devine
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    The Inn at Lake Devine

    Elinor Lipman

What fictional character would you like to date?
I developed quite a crush on Anthony Rubin, boy next door and Jewish high school hockey player in Frederick Reiken's The Lost Legends of New Jersey.

What is your favorite literary first line?
"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving."
—W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
When I first read Madeleine Blais's memoir, Uphill Walkers, I faxed her hilarious summer camp chapter to some friends, pre-publication. Here are just a few sentences from her wonderful book:

At camp, I became, well, famous. So great was my enthusiasm, so fulsome and nonstop my tributes to the fresh air and the scouting spirit, that when a lady from the local newspaper came to camp to do a feature story, she interviewed me as well as four other equally vocal campers. To this poor reporter, who, as a woman, was probably not allowed to cover real news (I still vainly search for her byline to this day: Enid Schwarzwald, where are you?), I chatted about the thrill of bag lunches on hikes and the opportunity to make new friends from other cultures, meaning two towns over.

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Well, you'll think I'm pandering, but it was the salmon hash with poached eggs at the Heathman Hotel in Portland. Eggs Benedict come and go, but this is a showstopper.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
I've recently acquired an apartment in Manhattan, and just being there, subway stop on my corner, the food, Central Park, the sheer convenience of everything makes me think that New York City was a lifelong dream I didn't know I had until it happened.

What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Does guilty pleasure count? I confess: American Idol.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
This meant a great deal to me: A reader told me, her voice choked, that her mother had been very ill, dying of cancer and in a lot of pain. She said, "I brought her home and gave her Isabel's Bed to read. Soon I could hear her laughing from the next room." spacer

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