Friday, December 22, 2023

What is Michael O'Donnell reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Michael O'Donnell, author of Above the Fire.

His entry begins:
I have been re-reading Hilary Mantel's monumental Wolf Hall novels about the court of Henry VIII. Just now I'm halfway through the second volume, Bring Up the Bodies. I first devoured these books as they came out beginning in 2009. This second time through, I am really savoring them. Partly this is due to the reading experience. I treated myself to the Folio Society editions, which are beautifully bound in cloth and richly illustrated. But mainly it is due to the brilliance of the prose.

Just the other day I laughed aloud at a passage about the Duke of Norfolk, one of Mantel's most outrageous characters. He often tries to be the alpha male even in the same room as the King of England, yet he emerges as a blustering windbag. Mantel writes that "he looks like a piece of rope chewed by a dog, or a piece of gristle left on the side of a trencher." A wonderful detail is that, for all his puffing, Norfolk is afraid of...[read on]
About Above the Fire, from the publisher:
O'Donnell's debut, Above the Fire, is a novel which finds hope and resilience in the timelessness of nature and the connection between parent and child. Perfect for fans of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Laboring under a shared loss, a father and son set out on a late-season backpacking trip through the mountains of New Hampshire. They find beauty and solidarity in the outdoors, making friends along the way and falling into the rhythms of an expedition. But when war breaks out during their hike, they are forced to withdraw even further into the backcountry.

Surviving an alpine winter by themselves, father and son must endure the elements, the solitude, and the ever-present danger of outsiders. As their isolation intensifies, their bond with each other grows more fierce. From their mountain refuge they must confront the perils of a changed world until they are forced to decide whether--and how--to rejoin society.
Visit Michael O'Donnell's website.

Q&A with Michael O'Donnell.

The Page 69 Test: Above the Fire.

Writers Read: Michael O'Donnell.

--Marshal Zeringue