Monday, August 31, 2009

What is Jeff Parker reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Jeff Parker, author of the novel Ovenman and co-editor of the newly released Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia.

His entry begins:
The last great book I read in English was Roberto Bolano's Savage Detectives. He is really, I think, the true heir to Borges and Marquez. I turned a friend on to him who preceded to read everything he has in translation. He kicked me the story collection Last Evenings on Earth, which I devoured in just a couple sittings. The thing is, formally speaking, they're not such great stories. And Bolano is not a stylist at all. In fact, if the translation is on, then his style is rather crude. But he has that kind of inexplicable magic that some writers have: he creates alternate realities that manage, despite their formal experimentation--and I know this sounds cheesy as hell--to transport you completely. I have 2666 sitting on my shelf but do not have the time quite yet to make the commitment, but I will. I will. I should say my typical habit, upon discovering a book I like a lot by a writer I've never read before, is to stop there. I am easily disappointed and a disappointment in subsequent work reflects back on the previous and so I like to...[read on]
Parker is the author of the novel Ovenman and, with artist William Powhida, the collection of stories and images The Back of the Line. His short fiction and nonfiction have been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Walrus, Ploughshares, Tin House, Spin, The Indiana Review, Columbia, Billiards Digest, and other magazines. He has co-edited two volumes of new Russian writing, Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States. He is currently working on a new novel and nonfiction book about Russia to be published by Harper Collins in 2010.

He served as the program director of Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is currently the acting director of the Master’s Program in the Field of Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.

Writers Read: Jeff Parker.

--Marshal Zeringue