Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mary Kay Zuravleff

Mary Kay Zuravleff is the author of The Bowl Is Already Broken, which the New York Times praised as “a tart, affectionate satire of the museum world’s bickering and scheming,” and The Frequency of Souls, which the Chicago Tribune deemed “a beguiling and wildly inventive first novel.” Honors for her work include the American Academy’s Rosenthal Award and the James Jones First Novel Award, and she has been nominated for the Orange Prize.

Zuravleff's latest novel is Man Alive!. From her Q & A with Elizabeth Word Gutting at The Rumpus:

The Rumpus: So, first of all, this book is amazing. I really tore through it.

Mary Kay Zuravleff: Well, thank you! That’s really nice to hear. I hoped for that—for the kind of pace that is fast but not too fast. I wanted it to hit the reader, so that—BAM!—Owen is struck by lightning, and it just tears through the whole family, and the reader tears through the book.

Rumpus: Yes—exactly. When Owen is struck by lightning in the first chapter, it really felt as though all that plays out for the family throughout the rest of the book is both totally inevitable and incredibly surprising. And you do family so well. What is it, do you think, about families that lends for such rich material? You had me both laughing and crying with these people.

Zuravleff: You tell me. I mean, that’s the day in the life in any family, don’t you think? Laughing and crying. You know, yesterday there was some anxiety going on in the house, that compounded with mine, and sort of did me in for a bit, and I was thinking, It’s not actually a bad day. But it was just the accumulation of a couple different people’s worries. In a family, you take on each other’s problems and joys differently, and more intensely. The amplitude—and the undulation of the family—is different from the people you just generally bump into on the street, because you’re chained together. And what happens if you break that chain? In almost every family that I know...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Kay Zuravleff's website.

My Book, The Movie: Man Alive!.

--Marshal Zeringue