Monday, July 14, 2008

What is Jonathan Evison reading?

The latest featured contributor to Writers Read: Jonathan Evison, author of All About Lulu and the founder and moderator of The Fiction Files.

One book he mentions:
Frederick Exley – A Fan’s Notes

I’ve been meaning to read this book for over a decade. More often than not, due to alphabetical proximity, All About Lulu sits right beside A Fan’s Notes in bookstores everywhere, along with Middlesex, forming a Lulu sandwich (gotta’ love the bread on that sandwich). When I finally got around to inhaling A Fan’s Notes in three sittings last week, I felt as though I’d discovered a long lost father, as though it were possible to have been influenced by a voice I’d never heard before. It has been suggested to me by some (most recently my brilliant friend Greg Downs, author of Spit Baths, that every writer is fundamentally Shakespearean or Dickensian in their approach to character. Exley-- from Mr. Blue to Paddy to the Counselor—is decidedly... [read on].
Among the early praise for All About Lulu, a starred review from Publishers Weekly:
“Evison's debut—of love and loss, growing up, throwing up and moving on—is a stunner. William Miller Jr. is a scrawny loner whose mother dies of cancer when he is seven years old, leaving him an awkward vegetarian with an ominously macho father and idiot twin brothers in mid-1970s Santa Monica. William's father, Big Bill, remarries a grief counselor named Willow, and Will spends the following decades in love with Louisa (Lulu, as she prefers to be called), his new stepsister. They are close throughout adolescence, but after a summer at cheerleading camp, Lulu returns home distant and hostile, leaving Will to pine for her in solitary desperation. Will finally appears to be on the path to normalcy in the early 1990s when he lucks into a radio talk-show hosting gig, but the stroke of good fortune is short-lived, as he discovers things about Lulu he'd rather not know. Evison provides readers a viciously funny and deeply felt portrayal of a blended family and one man's thwarted longing.”
Writers Read: Jonathan Evison.

Visit Jonathan Evison's website.

--Marshal Zeringue