For the last fifteen years, whenever a novel was published, John Freeman was there to greet it. As a critic for more than two hundred newspapers worldwide, and the onetime president of the National Book Critics Circle, he has reviewed thousands of books and interviewed scores of writers. In How to Read a Novelist, which pulls together his very best profiles (many of them new or completely rewritten for this volume) of the very best novelists of our time, he shares with us what he’s learned.
From such international stars as Doris Lessing, Haruki Murakami, Salman Rushdie, and Mo Yan, to established American lions such as Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Philip Roth, John Updike, and David Foster Wallace, to the new guard of Edwidge Danticat, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Franzen, and more, Freeman has talked to everyone.
What emerges is an instructive and illuminating, definitive yet still idiosyncratic guide to a diverse and lively literary culture: a vision of the novel as a varied yet vital contemporary form, a portrait of the novelist as a unique and profound figure in our fragmenting global culture, and a book that will be essential reading for every aspiring writer and engaged reader—a perfect companion (or gift!) for anyone who’s ever curled up with a novel and wanted to know a bit more about the person who made it possible.
John Freeman is an award-winning writer and book critic who has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Freeman won the 2007 James Patterson Pageturner Award for his work as the president of the National Book Critics Circle. He was the editor in chief of Granta and lives in New York City.
Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in November 2013. Laura lives in the Boston area and is at work on a novel.