Tom Perrotta's latest novel, The Abstinence Teacher, is out this month from St. Martin's Press.
From a 2004 interview with Perrotta conducted by Barnes & Noble:
What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer?Read the entire interview.
I read The Great Gatsby in high school and was hypnotized by the beauty of the sentences and moved by the story about the irrevocability of lost love. I've reread it several times since then and have discovered lots of other layers -- Nick's idolization of Gatsby, the perverse Horatio Alger narrative of Gatsby's rise in the world, Fitzgerald's keen eye for the hard realities of social class in America -- and I still maintain that even if there's no such thing as a perfect novel, Gatsby's about as close as we're going to get.
Learn more about The Abstinence Teacher.