In her debut novel, The Night Gwen Stacy Died, Bruni presents a quirky love story with a guy named Peter Parker, who is not Spider-Man but a mysterious stranger running from his past, and Sheila, a girl whom Peter decides to nickname Gwen Stacy after Spidey's first love. We caught up with Bruni via phone from her home in Brooklyn, N.Y.
What's on your nightstand?
I tend to read a bunch of books simultaneously. I've got Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers. It's really exhilarating to see the female protagonist, and Rachel does a great job with the first person. I've also got The Facades by Eric Lundgren. It's an advance copy. It comes out in September, but I've already started recommending it. It's set in a Midwestern city that's imaginary. It's a page-turning detective story that tells the story of a man searching for his vanished wife in a crumbling metropolis. At the sentence level it's just completely arresting. I've also got a book that I was introduced to last week. I've been really astonished by it — Pacific by Tom Drury. He has an ability to create empathy for such a large cast of characters.
Does that dry Drury humor come through?
Absolutely, that very dry and sensitive wit, and that's been fascinating as well.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer