Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based author of the novels The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House. 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 new book is the story collection Music for Wartime.

From her Q & A with Jennifer Solheim for Fiction Writers Review:

[Y]our first novel, The Borrower, is in part a roadtrip story. And your second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is a romp backwards in time at an artist’s retreat. So, with the thematic focus on memory, grief, and loss, the pervasive sadness in Music for Wartime surprised me. In what ways did you consider tone as the collection took shape?

I did produce new things. The three family “legends” are ones I wrote specifically for the book, and the final story, “The Museum of the Dearly Departed,” was my way of wrapping up the book’s themes. It also plays with some of the family history you’d have learned if you read the book straight through, so it speaks back to earlier parts of the collection.

I think those themes you mention are all themes of my novels, too, even if they’re a bit lighter on the whole. (But are they, really? One’s about a kidnapping, and the other has a huge body count by the end.) I’ve discovered that when I try to write funny it comes out very sad, and when I try to write sad it comes out funny. Maybe that’s my core aesthetic, funny-sad. I mean, despite the loss and gloom I do have stories about reality TV, and a woman who coughs up J. S. Bach, and a dead circus elephant. (And I realize as I type this that dead circus elephants aren’t exactly...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Rebecca Makkai's website, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Borrower.

The Page 69 Test: The Hundred-Year House.

My Book, The Movie: The Hundred-Year House.

--Marshal Zeringue