Thursday, October 18, 2018
Books

Novelist, USF professor Karen Brown drawn by the voices of stories of loss

Karen Brown

Brown teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida and is the author of several books, including The Longing of Wayward Girls and the short story collection Pins and Needles. On Nov. 17, Brown will be a featured author at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, where she will discuss her latest book, The Clairvoyants. The novel centers around a young woman, Martha Mary, who is visited by more than a few apparitions.

What’s on your nightstand?

I just finished The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg. It is an eerie, noir-ish novel about a woman, Clare, who sees her dead husband while in Cuba for a horror film festival. Her husband was supposed to attend Havana’s annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema before he went out for a walk and was struck by a car. The writing is lush and eloquent, the situation surreal.

I am also just starting Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey, another wild, imaginative novel with an opening mystery, the disappearance of Pony Darlene Fontaine’s mother, Billie Jean. If this sounds like a thriller, it isn’t, not exactly. The novel takes place in 1985 in a settlement founded years before by a cult leader. The inhabitants of the territory never leave, except for Billie Jean, who grabs the truck keys and flees her house barefoot one October morning. Dey’s territory is self-sufficient and its characters live by codes that reveal its cult origins, but it’s the voice that draws me into the book. It is one that feels as if it comes distinctly from this isolated world.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer

Comments
David Small’s ‘Home After Dark’ a powerful graphic novel about adolescence

David Small’s ‘Home After Dark’ a powerful graphic novel about adolescence

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Updated: 10/17/18
Jeff Klinkenberg is reading Lauren Groff, Tara Westover and Gary Shteyngart

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Gernhard biographer Bill DeYoung finds little new in Petty bio

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Review: Grief turns into danger in Lisa Unger’s thriller ‘Under My Skin’

Review: Grief turns into danger in Lisa Unger’s thriller ‘Under My Skin’

Grief is sometimes akin to madness. The loss of a loved one can knock our world off its rails for a while, until we find a new way to live. But for Poppy Lang, a young widow still struggling a year after the unsolved murder of her husband, sanity see...
Updated one month ago
Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

On a fall night in 1915, an American reporter sips Chartreuse at a sidewalk table as German Zeppelins patrol the perimeter of Paris. As he plans how to finagle his way to the front lines of World War I, a bomb explodes at another cafe nearby, and he ...
Updated one month ago
Novelist, USF professor Karen Brown drawn by the voices of stories of loss

Novelist, USF professor Karen Brown drawn by the voices of stories of loss

Karen BrownBrown teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida and is the author of several books, including The Longing of Wayward Girls and the short story collection Pins and Needles. On Nov. 17, Brown will be a featured author at th...
Updated one month ago