Thursday, June 09, 2011

What is Kathleen George reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Kathleen George, author of Afterimage, The Odds, and coming in August, her new Richard Christie novel, Hideout.

Her entry begins:
Though I’ve just read Michael Cunningham’s By Nightfall and have begun Julia Glass’ The Widower’s Tale, both smart and full of observation, I find myself wanting to ruminate more about two crime fiction novels by well-established writers of the genre. Both have detective characters and I can’t help but be interested in what other writers of detective fiction are doing with their detectives.

So it’s Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog, and Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion on my mind at the moment. I am an ideal reader—I get my teeth into a book and keep at it until it’s done. I don’t skip. I can’t skip. I’m sounding out the words. I’m speaking the book and writing it as I read it.

Here are some of the questions that occupied me as I read the Atkinson novel. Why, I kept asking myself, am I bothered by the number of coincidences in the book when I am not bothered by coincidence in Shakespeare or Dickens or for that matter Ibsen? In studying Ibsen as a theatre student I heard plenty about how he pushed coincidence to the point where it becomes fate and not accident. Is Atkinson doing that? I asked myself. But it didn’t quite seem so. She was having fun, I sensed, playing with coincidence. It was meant to be fun for the reader, aha moments. For one thing, she was mixing genre types—for even though she uses her detective figure, Brodie, and even though terrible things have happened to her characters, not much that is terrible is glimpsed from up close. A good portion of the novel is ...[read on]
Among the early praise for Hideout:
"Kathleen George's Hideout is deftly-written and keenly observed, with a compassionate eye for both the suffering of the innocent and the rigors of police work."
—April Smith, author of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey thrillers

"Kathleen George's Hideout is sharp, quick-paced, and thoroughly entertaining. Once again, George's characters come to life with all the complexities and complications of the world they live in. A smart and compelling read."
—Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Street of a Thousand Blossoms and Dreaming Water

"Not only could I not put Hideout down, I can't stop thinking about it now that I'm done. Kathleen George is not only a crack mystery writer, she is a crack writer. Period. Exciting and elegant. What a combination."
—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer prize winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain and Tabloid Dreams

"Hideout harkens back to Joseph Hayes's classic The Desperate Hours, taking the reader on a dark ride up Route 79."
—Stewart O'Nan

"Hideout is exciting, suspenseful and gripping. Would make a terrific movie."
—Joseph Wambaugh

"Hideout [is] a real tour de force—it transcends the genre of thriller, though it's thrilling."
—Diane Johnson
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen George's website.

Kathleen George is a professor of theatre at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels Taken, Fallen, Afterimage, the short story collection The Man in the Buick, scholarly theatrical books and articles, and many short stories. Her novel The Odds was an Edgar finalist for best novel.

The Page 99 Test: Afterimage.

The Page 99 Test: The Odds.

Writers Read: Kathleen George.

--Marshal Zeringue