Monday, October 12, 2009

What is Gerri Brightwell reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Gerri Brightwell, author of The Dark Lantern (Crown, 2008) and other fiction and essays.

Her entry begins:
I've just finished reading the first novel in Irène Némirovsky's Suite Française, "Storm in June" (she was planning to write five novels but was murdered by the Nazis before she could complete more than the first two). The novel is only 200 pages but it feels like a much longer story, more like something you'd expect to have come out of the nineteenth century. I've described it as like War and Peace, only without the peace--it has the same broad scope, following a number of characters as they flee Paris during the Nazi invasion. Although it might seem to be about the war, Némirovsky keeps military confrontations in the background. What interests her--and what I found captivating--was how she used the novel to show us this suddenly changed and troubling world through the eyes of a mostly unsympathetic but intriguing set of characters: a narcissistic writer and his mistress, a wealthy collector of antiques, a well-off family (and their cat!). Némirovsky doesn't...[read on]
Gerri Brightwell is Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She has master’s degrees in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, plus a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota.

Among the praise for The Dark Lantern:
“I loved this novel! Victorian England comes to life in rich and minutely imagined detail. Gerri Brightwell masterfully combines historical fiction with mystery, and the result is a page-turner so compelling you won’t want to put it down.”
—Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of Nefertiti

“A hypnotic spell of a novel–The Dark Lantern resurrects a Victorian London with dirt under its nails. Dawning criminology is a hazardous business, but nothing compared to the tangle of secrets in a gentleman’s home, where domestic espionage teems beneath a mask of propriety. Brightwell captures the fraught interdependence of mistress and maid, blackmailer and victim, and winds the tension to devastating effect.”
—Laura Dietz, author of In the Tenth House
Visit Gerri Brightwell's faculty webpage and read more about The Dark Lantern.

Writers Read: Gerri Brightwell.

--Marshal Zeringue