Kathryn Harrison
Victor LaValle
Jay Kang
Karl Greenfeld

Behind the Book

Thursday 13 September, 2012
7 - 9pm, $0

85 East 4th Street

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In her latest, “splendid and surprising” novel, Enchantments, Kathryn Harrison “takes a particular moment in time and brings it to stunning life” in what Jennifer Egan calls “a sumptuous, atmospheric account of the last days of the Romanovs from the perspective of Rasputin’s daughter.” Kathryn has written six other best-selling novels: Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker than Water, and the nonfiction, 2008 NYT Notable Book of the Year, While They Slept. She has also written two provocative, “beautifully written” best-selling memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot; a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago, a biography, Sainte Therese of Lisieux; and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture. She is a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review; her essays, which have been included in many anthologies, have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Vogue, Salon, and other publications. She teaches in the MFA program at Hunter College and lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

In Victor LaValle’s new novel, The Devil in Silver, “[l]iterary horror just found a new master. Profound, and profoundly terrifying, The Devil in Silver is a page-turning delight,” praises Gary Shteyngart. The Boston Globe adds it is “[a] sophisticated critique of contemporary America’s inhumane treatment of madness in a fast-paced story that is by turns horrifying, suspenseful, and comic in a noirish way.” Victor is the author of two other novels, The Ecstatic and “the spectacular” Big Machine, which received the 2010 American Book Award and was named a 2009 Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten Book, among many other awards and national top-ten lists. He is also the author of the short-story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, and a gripping, fantastical eBook novella, Lucretia and the Kroons. His writing has appeared in essays and The Washington Post, GQ, Essence Magazine, and The Fader, among others. He has received numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the key to Southeast Queens. He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and son. He teaches at Columbia University.

Karl Taro Greenfeld displays “a gift for satire…balanced by a sense of sympathy for his faux bohemians” in his “absorbing” debut novel, Triburbia, set in TriBeCa during George W. Bush’s second term. Reviewing it in The New York Times Book Review, Jay McInerney praises how “[Greenfeld’s] sensitivity to nuances of the zeitgeist and his keen observational skills make his characters (some of whom will seem eerily familiar to longtime residents of downtown Manhattan) instantly recognizable as creatures of their time and place without quite denying them their humanity.” Karl is also the author of six other books, including the acclaimed memoir, Boy Alone, about his autistic brother Noah; Speed Tribes; Standard Deviations; and China Syndrome. A longtime writer for The Nation, Time, and Sports Illustrated, he was the editor of Time Asia and a founding editor of Sports Illustrated China. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, GQ, Vogue, Wired, The Washington Post, and Salon, among many other publications. His books have been translated into 12 languages and his writing selected for Best American Sports Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other anthologies. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, Commentary, and other publications. He was born in Japan and has lived in Paris, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. He currently lives in TriBeCa with his wife and their two children.

Hailed as The Awl’s 2012 novel-to-anticipate, Jay Caspian Kang’s debut novel, The Dead Do Not Improve, is a “loopy, hilarious, neo-noir novel… an extremely smart, funny debut, with moments of haunting beauty.” Starring the city of San Francisco and an MFA student on-the-run, this whodunit is praised by Francisco Goldman as a “jaw-droppingly brilliant, original, and ‘totally mental’ novel,” while Kirkus Reviews calls it “[a] Pynchon-esque menagerie of California surfers, cops, thugs and dot-com workers [who] converge in a comic anti-noir…[that] does some serious musing on gentrification and racism (particularly toward Asians), but the storyline and overall tone are satirical…smart, funny.” Jay is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and is an editor and journalist at Grantland. He was born in Seoul, grew up in North Carolina, and currently lives in Los Angeles.
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