Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Matthew Goodman

Matthew Goodman's newest book is The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team.

From his Q&A with Caroline Leavitt:

I always think that writers are haunted into writing their books, that they are looking for answers to something and hope to find it in a novel. What was haunting you beside, obviously, the amazing story here?

That’s a wonderful question. In his short story “The Leather Man,” E. L. Doctorow wrote of “individuals in whom history intensifies like electroshock.” It’s just sort of a tossed-off phrase, but for some reason it hit me very powerfully, because in reading it I suddenly realized that in a certain way that’s my whole writing project. I was trained as a fiction writer, with all of that emphasis on characterization and narrative structure and authorial voice and all the rest, but ever since I was a kid I’ve loved history, and now in writing narrative history I’ve been able to combine those two disciplines. I think what I’m trying to do in my writing is to find and then think as deeply as I can about individuals who get caught up in historical events and then have to negotiate their way through them. That’s the thing that I seem to return to again and again in my work.

So, for instance, in my previous book, Eighty Days, about Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s race around the world in 1889, I found that for me the prime motivator, the thing that really kept me going in the writing, was less the events of the trip – although I loved writing about all those fascinating places like Hong Kong and Yemen and the Suez Canal – than the idea of...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Matthew Goodman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Eighty Days.

The Page 99 Test: Eighty Days.

--Marshal Zeringue