Friday, October 31, 2014

What is Lois Leveen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lois Leveen, author of Juliet's Nurse: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
Almost every book I read is somehow related to my writing. I'll save you the very long list of nonfiction books that are surrounding my writing area currently (literally: I sit in a comfy chair, laptop and cat in my lap, and about 15 or more books within arms reach to be consulted as needed). Here's the fiction list. It's driven in part by the fact that Juliet's Nurse and my first novel The Secrets of Mary Bowser are both written in first-person, and I am now working on something in third-person. So I'm looking at novels that are helping me think about narrators and narration, although this list contains novels with both 1st- and 3rd- person narrators.

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald. I just re-read this cover to cover, and am now "reading around in it," meaning flipping open and reading a chapter, or just a few pages, at a time. Why? This is truly a gem of a novel, a weird, witty, poignant piece of literary historical fiction. It's one of the few books I not only love reading but wish I'd written, because Fitzgerald seems to have such control and style in it, with a third-person narrator who is gently teasing the characters but always loving them. I cannot understand why I find this book so compelling, even after many, many readings. It's like it's laced with some addictive but undetectable substance. I've read...[read on]
About Juliet's Nurse, from the publisher:
An enthralling new telling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet—told from the perspective of Juliet’s nurse.

In Verona, a city ravaged by plague and political rivalries, a mother mourning the death of her day-old infant enters the household of the powerful Cappelletti family to become the wet-nurse to their newborn baby. As she serves her beloved Juliet over the next fourteen years, the nurse learns the Cappellettis’ darkest secrets. Those secrets—and the nurse’s deep personal grief—erupt across five momentous days of love and loss that destroy a daughter, and a family.

By turns sensual, tragic, and comic, Juliet’s Nurse gives voice to one of literature’s most memorable and distinctive characters, a woman who was both insider and outsider among Verona’s wealthy ruling class. Exploring the romance and intrigue of interwoven loyalties, rivalries, jealousies, and losses only hinted at in Shakespeare’s play, this is a never-before-heard tale of the deepest love in Verona—the love between a grieving woman and the precious child of her heart.

In the tradition of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Geraldine Brooks, Juliet’s Nurse is a rich prequel that reimagines the world’s most cherished tale of love and loss, suffering and survival.
Visit Lois Leveen's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Juliet's Nurse.

Writers Read: Lois Leveen.

--Marshal Zeringue