Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What is Lee Martin reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Lee Martin, author of Break the Skin.

His entry begins:
I recently read Stewart O’Nan’s novel, Emily, Alone, because I’m a big fan of Stewart’s work, and I wanted to have a look at his latest. I knew going in that this was a story about aging, as seen through the consciousness of its main character, eighty-year-old Emily Maxwell. Before I even opened the book, I felt heartened by the fact that Stewart had bravely taken on subject matter that was rife with challenges. How does one successfully tell the story of a woman who is toward the end of her life? How does one tell that story without falling into cliché and sentimentality? Well, if you’re a novelist as gifted as Stewart so clearly is, you pull it all off by...[read on]
Among the early praise for Break the Skin:
"I was worried for these characters as I'd worry for my own friends. The women want normal things--connection, stability--but get in their own way of finding peaceful lives. I love reading about characters in Illinois, a place not often depicted in fiction. This is a suspenseful, engaging book."
—Alice Elliott Dark, author of Think of England and In the Gloaming

"...Mr. Martin is a top-notch craftsman. . .what is most remarkable about Break the Skin is its restrained tone and the author's generosity toward his very needy characters. His sympathies for them rarely seem to wane, even when they are harboring criminals, conjuring hexes or plotting murder."
New York Times

"Martin, whose kidnap novel The Bright Forever (2005) was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, expertly applies shades of James Cain–like noir to a modern story that might have been inspired by one of the Lucinda Williams songs on this book's soundtrack. Black magic, daughters cursed by the loss or absence of their fathers, post traumatic stress syndrome, small-town secrecy and lies, pre-teen voyeurism: Welcome to life 'on the other side of right thinking.' An intoxicating small-town thriller that quickly gets under your skin."
Kirkus Reviews

“Provocative… Crackling with dark deeds and bad intentions, Martin snakes through the lives of the desperate without casting pity.”
--Publishers Weekly
Learn more about the book and author at Lee Martin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Break the Skin.

My Book, The Movie: Break the Skin.

Writers Read: Lee Martin.

--Marshal Zeringue