Saturday, August 24, 2013

Adelle Waldman

Adelle Waldman’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The Village Voice and other publications. She worked as a reporter at the New Haven Register and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal’s website before turning to fiction.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is her first novel.

From Waldman's Q & A with Emma Chastain at The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

As all the reviewers say, your novel is an incisive comedy of manners and a brilliant character study. It’s also a page turner. I couldn’t go to sleep until I’d found out whether Nate would mess things up with Hannah. Was it important to you to create suspense? How did you go about it?

I’m so glad to hear that! On the one hand, the plot of the novel is very simple. I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want anything out of the ordinary to happen—there are no police chases or natural disasters or earth-shattering revelations. But I hoped that the novel would create its own momentum for just the reason you cite—because readers would come to care about the characters and how their relationships played out.

Many Goodreads reviewers complain that Nate is unlikeable. This drives me bonkers. I don’t understand why people insist on liking characters—what does likability have to do with literary merit? Do you have any theories about why some readers can’t cope with realistically flawed characters?

It’s funny to me because I think of myself as a pretty moralistic and judgmental person—and I certainly have a pretty extensive moral critique of my protagonist Nate. Still, as a reader, I often like, and identify with, characters that others see as anti-heroes, such as Julien Sorel from The Red & the Black, or the Lamberts in The Corrections. To my mind, we are all...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Adelle Waldman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P..

--Marshal Zeringue