Thursday, July 03, 2008

What is Lewis Shiner reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Lewis Shiner, novelist and short story writer.

One excerpt from his entry:
I'm currently wrapping up Che Guevara:A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson, which I'm reading as research for a new story. Che is on T-shirts all over the world, and I wanted to make sense of some of his contradictions: a compassionate humanist who carried a rifle; a doctor who killed; a freedom fighter who embraced the totalitarian regimes in the USSR and China. Anderson is an advocate of Che's ideals, but not a hagiographer. The book, at 754 pages (not counting notes) is thorough, but never boring, and gives a nuanced picture of a complex human being. [read on]
Of Shiner's new novel, Black & White, Sarah Weinman wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
Black and White, as the title suggests, is painted on a broad canvas of stark contrasts and big themes, but the book doesn’t suffer under the weight of its ambition… As Black & White draws to a close, and the fence-swinging array of viewpoints and time periods merge into a murky shade of contemporary gray, Michael is left wondering what’s the use of revolutionary fervor when it effects little overall change. ‘The only answer…,’ he is told, ‘is that you have to take sides and you have to show the world that you mean it. You do whatever you can, not because of what you hope to accomplish, but because to do anything else is ultimately…not acceptable.’ The same answer applies equally well to Shiner. The novel’s mere existence is proof that Shiner means it — and that readers ignore him at their peril.
Read an excerpt from Black & White, and learn more about Lewis Shiner and his work at his website.

Writers Read: Lewis Shiner.

--Marshal Zeringue