Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose first novel, The Borrower, is a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction has been chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008), and appears regularly in journals like Harper's, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review.
Makkai's latest novel is The Hundred-Year House.
From her Q & A with Ellen Birkett Morris at The Rumpus:
The Rumpus: Where do stories begin for you—character, plot, image, first line?Learn more about the author and her work at Rebecca Makkai's website, Facebook page and Twitter perch.
Rebecca Makkai: A scenario. Like, what if someone walks into a diner that’s run by a cult and sees that one of the workers is a girl he used to date? I start with a “what if” and the characters come to me later. The Hundred-Year House actually started as a story of male anorexia. I had these two couples forced into close quarters in a coach house and the story expanded and grew in crazy ways until it was about other things. Other ideas came to life and became more interesting to me than the anorexia storyline. That said, the anorexia storyline was hard to let go of easily. It felt foundational, so it stayed until the late drafts.
Rumpus: Why did male anorexia capture your attention?
Makkai: I have always been fascinated by anorexia, like many people are. While I never had a full-on eating disorder, I flirted around the edges of it. It brings up fascinating questions of why we do this to ourselves, and how to help other people deal with it. The idea of male anorexia came out of the desire to change it up. In fiction we always look for things people won’t expect. It is juicer in fiction if we don’t...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: The Borrower.
The Page 69 Test: The Hundred-Year House.
My Book, The Movie: The Hundred-Year House.