Friday, May 31, 2013

What is Derek B. Miller reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Derek Miller, author of Norwegian by Night.

His entry begins:
I am a solitary reader. I enjoy this solitude so much that I generally avoid reading book reviews, getting into long discussions about books, or otherwise socializing the experience.

I just finished the first draft of my new novel, and while writing it I was reading — one might say studying — a fabulous edited volume from Andrew Delbanco called Writing New England: An Anthology from the Puritans to the Present. I've been especially interested in the way New England has been portrayed in fiction and in early American religious and philosophical writing. Boston was founded in 1635, and is almost a hundred and fifty years older than America itself, so New England writing is rich and formative for the American experience as a whole. Delbanco's anthology both explained and presented that beautifully.

I used that book as a spring-board to delve more deeply into some other writers going as far back as the mid-1600s. Cotton Mather, in particular, got a lot of my attention. Later, I turned to...[read on]
About Norwegian by Night, from the publisher:
A luminous novel, a police thriller, and the funniest book about war crimes and dementia you are likely to read

Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway: a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman, who failed his only son by sending him to Vietnam to die. Not until now, anyway.

Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. But old age and circumstances are altering Sheldon’s experience of time and memory. He is haunted by dreams of his son Saul’s life and by guilt over his death. As Sheldon and the boy look for a haven in an alien world, reality and fantasy, past and present, weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.

Norwegian by Night introduces an ensemble of unforgettable characters—Sheldon and the boy, Rhea and Lars, a Balkan war criminal named Enver, and Sigrid and Petter, the brilliantly dry-witted investigating officers—as they chase one another, and their own demons, through the wilderness at the end of the world.
Follow Derek Miller on Twitter.

Writers Read: Derek Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue