April 27, 2012

April 24, 2012

Thank God For Tall Ladies

After my unexpected advance to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award last month, I am tickled a baby-faced shade of pink to announce that I have now advanced AGAIN to the semifinals. That means I'm in the top fifty of all five thousand entries in the general fiction category, which I feel pretty good about even if I go no further.

I also feel pretty good about this review that I got from Publishers Weekly:
A poignant and touching melancholy suffuses the small moments in this lyrical tale of a family grappling with changes that are altering the dynamics of its household and the way of life on a small island. In October, 1980, the last child is born on Eilean Fior, an island off the northwest coast of Scotland. The island's aging population has, over the decades, been slowly moving back to the mainland until there are now fewer than two dozen permanent residents. Chief among them are the McClouds, who own the local pub and who are the last of the island families with young children. Spanning 22 years, the narrative follows the three McCloud kids as they grow from childhood to maturity: Barry, the moody oldest son, who never recovers from his boarding school separation from his family; Flora, an aspiring artist who longs for a fulfilling life off the island; and Trevor, who is left to attend to his aging mother and father when his siblings move away. As they respond with varying degrees of resistance to the pull of family and home, each of the children develops a distinct, credibly drawn personality evident in their every interaction with their world. There are no great dramatic scenes in this story, but rather quiet, well-conceived episodes of hope and happiness that alternate with the inevitable disappointments and disillusionment of life. The result is a bittersweet coming-of-age tale that is emotionally engaging and rings true.
I am contractually bound to mention at this point that Publishers Weekly is an independent organization and the review was written based on a manuscript version of the book and not a published version. I am not contractually bound to mention that I have re-read the review about seventy times for the sheer pleasure of it — but I will anyway. OH MAN.

The three finalists will be announced on May 22nd, and I will be peeing my pants until then. Check back then for news...

April 20, 2012

April 19, 2012

You Are The Weakest

I'm embarrassed to say that, despite my relative silence here the last few weeks, I don't have much to show for it elsewhere. Partly it's because I was in Vermont last weekend, planning my wedding. Partly it's because one of the few other things I have been working on lately is for a print magazine with a long lead time. But mostly it's because, after another brush-off from an agent, of the my-god-but-aren't-you-a-gifted-writer-we-would-love-to-work-with-you-unfortunately-this-book-is-too-hard-to-sell-as-a-first-book-do-you-have-any-others variety, I have been working on a new book. Sigh.

(N.B.1. It was very nice to hear so much praise from an agent, mind you, and even nicer of him to take the time to brush me off in person. I'm just frustrated with the realities of the literary fiction marketplace.)

(N.B.2. Satirists, when I eventually do become a famous writer and you want to publish a witty take-off of my written style, you should make sure to include at least seven "Partly it's because...And partly it's because...But mostly it's because..." constructions. It's becoming a really bad habit.)

Anyway, I do have one lowly link to my own work to share with you today: my latest Blurbese post over at Ploughshares. It's about the word "funny," which I guess was bound to happen eventually.

You should also go read my beautiful, wonderful, fabulously talented pundigrion fiancée's brand new blog, From Y to A, because she has been working very hard on it and it's getting a lot of positive response, and you want to be able to tell people you were reading it before it was famous.

More next week.

April 13, 2012

April 06, 2012

April 03, 2012

Things You Might Play Golf On

Folks, sorry for the long silence — it has been a busy few weeks here at pundigrions HQ. I filed my taxes. I received three form rejections. I took the Jeopardy! contestant test. [Now ends your tantalizing glimpse into the rock and roll lifestyle of a twenty-something writer living in Brooklyn.]

I also wrote my LAST EVER book review for the Good Men Project. I will be staying on with them as an "Editor-at-large," which I assume is some kind of fat joke, but we decided that the book reviews had run their useful course. Anyway, for one last dose of science-related philosobabble — and, of course, another classic Steven Pinker zing — go check out my review of Sebastian Seung's Connectome.

At the suggestion of the editorial staff over at Ploughshares, I also wrote a round-up of funny books in honor of April Fools' Day — and, as a commenter quickly pointed out, missed about seven gazillion really obvious ones.

More news, soon.