Monday, October 22, 2007

Jennifer Lee Carrell

Jennifer Lee Carrell has won three awards for distinction in undergraduate teaching at Harvard, where she taught in the History and Literature Program and directed Shakespeare for the Hyperion Theatre Company. She is the author of The Speckled Monster, a work of historical nonfiction about battling smallpox at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Her debut novel is the recently-released Interred With Their Bones.

From the author's 2003 interview with Barnes & Noble:

What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer -- and why?

by J.R.R. Tolkien. The fine detail and vast scope of his world are astounding, but the greatest lesson The Lord of the Rings taught me is the paradoxical necessity of frayed threads, mysterious gaps, and unfinished edges. Like the real world, Middle-earth is deliberately, teasingly, seductively incomplete -- unknowable and therefore seemingly infinitely rich in its history, languages, geography, zoology, culture. The story at hand gives the sense of being no more than a brief exploration through a world whose horizons are endless: "All experience is an arch where through gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move," as Tennyson put it. Shakespeare teaches a similar lesson: Even his minor characters seem to have rich back-stories. The sense of full stories roiling in the shadows makes the plot at center stage shine all the brighter.
Read the entire interview.

--Marshal Zeringue