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Upstairs at the Strand : writers in conversation at the legendary bookstore
2016
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  Library Journal Review

This collection edited by Strand, former events coordinator at the Strand bookstore in New York City, and journalist Aguilar covers a wide range of author visits to the venerable institution. The book evokes a feeling of eavesdropping on a private conversation between old friends but more often shifts to a lovely piece of advice about writing and writers. Readers will find cherry-picking through the selections as rewarding as it straight through. With a panoply of award-winning contributors, including Renata Adler, Alison Bechdel, Junot Díaz, and George Saunders, among others, sharing conversation with those they know well, or not at all, delving into poetry, biography, fiction, and memoir, it's a who's who of the Strand's illustrious history. Occasional questions from the audience give structure to the authors' answers and contain passages in which the best tidbits can be found. VERDICT This volume brings together in one place an array of talent, and distills it in such a way that lovers of literature, writers, and students of literature will find invaluable. For most collections.-Linda White, Maplewood, MN © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Since the Strand Bookstore in New York City opened its rare book room in 2003, it has hosted numerous writers there in conversation. This fascinating book collects 12 of those conversations. Biographers D.T. Max and Blake Bailey discuss Bailey's biography of Charles Jackson and various methods for structuring their work. Rachel Kushner, Hari Kunzru, and Rivka Galchen debate everything from stereotyping and irony to inspiration. Poets and old friends Mark Strand and Charles Wright chat about the struggles of creating new work. Katie Roiphe talks with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel about the way their families react to their work. George Saunders reveals to Deborah Eisenberg that when he was starting out as a writer, he had a "medical condition called a 'Hemingway boner.' I just loved him." Some conversations are less interesting than others, but overall the level of insight remains high. One of the greatest values of these interviews is that they focus on the books at hand and strive to uncover what is best about each writer's work. Ranging from Junot Diaz's talkative, casual style to Charles Simic's easy conversational poetry, this assortment of literary interviews brings together the voices of some our best writers and leaves the reader wanting more. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p>Based on a series of talks pairing writers of note, Upstairs at the Strand offers candid accounts of the ways leading writers work, think and live. The book features such celebrated novelists, playwrights and poets as Martin Amis, Paul Auster, Charles Simic, Patti Smith and Mark Strand, as well as contemporary stars such as Hilton Als and T?a Obreht.</p>
Table of Contents
Introductionp. ix
1Deborah Eisenberg & George Saundersp. 1
2Hilton Als & Junot Díazp. 15
3Rivka Galchen, Hari Kunzru, & Rachel Kushnerp. 39
4Edward Albee & Paul Austerp. 61
5Tea Obreht & Charles Simicp. 78
6Alison Bechdel & Katie Roiphep. 92
7Blake Bailey & D. T. Maxp. 112
8Tina Chang & Tracy K. Smithp. 132
9A. M. Homes & Leigh Newmanp. 142
10Wendy Lesser & Robert Pinskyp. 153
11Renata Adler & David Shieldsp. 167
12Mark Strand & Charles Wrightp. 190
About the Contributorsp. 201
Acknowledgmentsp. 207
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