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Alexander Chee, The Queen Of The Night

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The Interview Magazine

87

Chee’s enchanting The Queen of the Night is about a legendary 19th Century Paris soprano, inspired by Jenny Lind. Lilliet Berne’s voice was said to “turn arias into spells, hymns into love songs,” writes Chee. She was the gifted daughter of Minnesota settlers who considered her voice a curse.

Paul Goldberg, The Yid

Paul Goldberg, The Yid
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The Interview Magazine

83

Goldberg’s debut novel opens with a “knock-and-pick” scene set in February 1953 Moscow. Three men in a Black Maria leave the “castle-like gates” of Lubyanka to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, a Red Army veteran and actor for the defunct State Jewish Theatre.

Marie Ndiaye, Ladivine

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The Interview Magazine

230

French-born NDiaye has won the Prix Femina, the Prix Goncourt, and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize. The consequences of racial passing are at the core of her moving, ultimately radiant new novel (translated from the French by Jordan Stump).

Adam Hochschild, Spain In Our Hearts

Adam Hochschild, Spain In Our Hearts
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The Interview Magazine

97

Hochschild, author of the searing King Leopold’s Ghost, examines the complex political and social aspects of the Spanish Civil War, which began when Francisco Franco led a military uprising against the democratically elected Spanish Republic. He was backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Annette Gordon-Reed And Peter S Onuf, Most Blessed Of The Patriarchs

Annette Gordon-Reed And Peter S Onuf, Most Blessed Of The Patriarchs
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The Interview Magazine

122

Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008). Onuf is a leading Thomas Jefferson scholar. Their ground-breaking reinterpretation of the life and philosophy of Jefferson – the third US president – “explores the roles he played” and the self he fashioned.

Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton
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The Interview Magazine

128

In her fifth novel, Strout, whose Olive Kitteridge won a Pulitzer Prize, brings us young Lucy Barton lying in a hospital bed in view of the Chrysler Building for nearly nine weeks in the 1980s. She is in a “very strange state – a literally feverish waiting” as she heals from an infection after an appendectomy. She misses her husband and two young daughters.

Don Delillo, Zero K

Don Delillo, Zero K
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The Interview Magazine

82

In his 17th novel, DeLillo follows Jeffrey Lockhart and his father Ross, a billionaire, to a place where Ross’s younger second wife Artis – “the archaeologist, the one whose mind and failing body would soon begin to drift, on schedule, into the void” – can preserve her body indefinitely until medical advances can heal her.

Dana Spiotta, Innocents And Others

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The Interview Magazine

93

As a teenager, Meadow claims to have had a months-long tryst with Orson Welles. Determined to become a film-maker, she leaves Los Angeles and sets up a makeshift studio in upstate New York. Her first film, an eight-hour Betacam video of her boyfriend, wins a jury prize. She draws acclaim for a 1992 documentary called Kent State: Recovered.

Abubakar Audu's "Last Bus Stop''

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The Interview Magazine

81

Ever so colourful, AbubakarAudu could move mountains with his sense of humour. To say that he was worshipped by the people of Kogi State would be restating the obvious.

Sacking 'Under The Influence'

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The Interview Magazine

77

We have certainly not heard the last of the jaw-dropping tales of sleaze, debauchery and absurdities that took place under the fedora hat-wearing former tenant of the Rocky Villa. The one just reaching us borders on farce.

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