Saturday, September 18, 2010

What is Joan Frances Turner reading?

This weekend's featured contributor at Writers Read: Joan Frances Turner, author of Dust.

Her entry begins:
A Way of Life, Like Any Other, Darcy O'Brien. I have a great weakness for writers who specialize in the Rotting Underside of Fantastic L.A.--James Ellroy, Joan Didion, James M. Cain, Nathanael West--and A Way of Life, Like Any Other reads like a more acerbic, male version of Play It As It Lays. The unnamed protagonist, the pampered son of two 1940s Hollywood B-players (O'Brien, the son of actors George O'Brien and Marguerite Churchill, knew his material well), watches his entire life slide into the drink, literally and figuratively, before the age of ten when his parents' careers don't survive the advent of television. They turn to various addictions for solace--alcohol, compulsive spending and horrible men for his mother, right-wing Catholicism for his father--and their son, our narrator is left not only to raise himself but to clean up the increasingly nasty messes his "caretakers" leave behind.

A Way of Life
does something else I have a great weakness for...[read on]
Joan Frances Turner was born in Rhode Island and grew up in the Calumet Region of northwest Indiana. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, she lives near the Indiana Dunes with her family and a garden full of spring onions and tiger lilies, weather permitting.

Dust, her first novel, is a story of the undead from their own point of view, as they battle time, decay, the loved ones they left behind, encroaching humanity and each other. Or, think Watership Down with zombies instead of rabbits.

Among the early praise for the novel:
“With Dust, Joan Frances Turner does her part to revive zombie lit from the dead end of novelty-book silliness. Here the rotting, flesh-hungry ghouls are the heroes, and they roam the landscape bickering and horsing around like teenage hooligans out of S.E. Hinton’s Rumble Fish. Lush gore abounds–this is a vivid trip to the dark side that could have been called Twilight of the Dead.”
–Walter Greatshell, author of Xombies: Apocalypticon

“DUST is a nail-bitingly good Zombie romp that magically morphs into an intelligent treatise on life, death and the fallibility of being human. With its engaging protagonist Jessica, and a host of well-imagined supporting characters – both alive and undead – DUST is a cut above the rest.”
–Amber Benson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress and author of Cat’s Claw

Dust is a thoughtful, poignant, and frightening book about the undead. It is a truly original idea told from a view point that will surprise and horrify, and may make you change sides in the next war between zombies and humans.”
–Laurell K. Hamilton, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Visit Joan Frances Turner's website and blog.

Writers Read: Joan Frances Turner.

--Marshal Zeringue