Articles by Lisa Peet

July 7, 2016

It’s Complicated: On Amy Gustine’s ‘You Should Pity Us Instead’ 1

Gustine treats her characters — and thus her readers — with dignity and compassion. Our complications, she demonstrates with each story, may drive us and often damage us, but they’re important.

March 10, 2016

What’s So Civil About War, Anyway? On Occupation and Rebirth 1

Andrea Molesini’s novel offers up the other side of the well-worn battle story — the tension of a quiet occupation, in which the veneer of civility remains in place, like a shattered mirror whose shards of glass need only a tap to come cascading down.

April 14, 2015

Punk Rock Indeed: The Two Sides of Viv Albertine 3

She picks up a guitar because that’s what a music-loving art school girl does, with no illusions about becoming a musician. “Mick and I go to Denmark Street to choose a guitar. I’ve got no idea what to look for. I might as well be going to buy a semi-automatic weapon.”

September 18, 2014

Everything Changes: An Interview With Ronna Wineberg 0

We sat in the living room of my parents’ house and asked questions of our grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We were riveted by their stories and decided to record the conversations on cassette tapes. The discussions were lively; people disagreed about what had happened in the past. My great-grandfather had been murdered in Russia. My great uncle, a man in his late 60s, described the murder to us and as he did, he cried.

August 21, 2014

This Could Be Your Story: On Matthew Thomas’s We Are Not Ourselves 0

Parents, partners, relatives, friends: someday you will watch a person you care about suffer. It’s not so much that last shovelful of dirt on the grave that should terrify us, but emptying all those bedpans.

March 13, 2014

Deadlines, Word Counts, and Magnificent Lies: On Hesh Kestin 0

He had finished his first [novel], Small Change, when he was 23, and it was bought and slated for publication until he balked at changing the title to Season of Lust. The book was never published, nor were the next three. Eventually, as he puts it, “the noise of the hungry bellies of my kids used to keep me up at night.” So he got a real job, this time as a war correspondent—for, as it turned out, Newsday.

November 11, 2013

Jane Gardam’s Characters: Organically Grown 1

Gardam didn’t sit down to write what would become her first collection of short stories until she was 41. But even in her first works, written for children, a reader can sense a lifetime of thoughtful observation — and the even hand of a veteran gardener, which, it turns out, she is.

July 16, 2013

Post-40 Bloomer: Thomas Van Essen and the Ekphrasis of Ecstasy 0

The Center of the World is, simply, the story of a painting. But the painting, a full-figure portrait of Helen of Troy, is imbued, somehow, with Helen’s mystical beauty and erotic life force. The reader is treated to tantalizing glimpses into how this came to be.

August 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: David Abrams Taking As Long As It Takes 6

There doesn’t always need to be a dramatic story to later-life publication — sometimes a writer may just be spending a couple of decades reading, writing, working, and living enough to know what it is he’s writing about. Often those intervening years are simply about showing up.

May 30, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Mary Wesley, That Sort of Girl 3

There was no stopping her now. She wrote like a woman possessed, scrawling on the back of old manuscripts and whatever she could find. She had a soft touch for dark themes, offering deception and adultery the same respect as the rest of the natural world they occupied. The only sin she couldn’t forgive her characters was cruelty.

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