Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Authors Speak: Mary Doria Russell (part 2)
I love books. The thing about finding that great read - that read that speaks to your essence and stimulates the brain - is that you can never discover it again. You can revisit it, you can recommend it, and it can exist for all time on your bookshelf. But you'll never have that initial discovery.
This was how it was with Russell's The Sparrow.
Not the light fluff that we absorb for beach reading, The Sparrow was an intricate piece of science fiction that was heavily researched out, questioned faith and morality, and fluidly paced and read like poetry. I've written many papers on the book, ate up the sequel, and have purchased it for more people than I can count. It's that good.
But, even better than the first home run...Mary Doria Russell is no one-trick pony. I'm not sure how she maintains the same precision, but every thing that has come out of her mind is of equal merit. Religion is an easy chord to keep striking, but how do you take two of the best science fiction books of the 20th century and capitalize on it? Easy, you grab the literary gear shift and turn the bus around.
Thread of Grace, another well-researched and fleshed out piece, discussed Jews in Italy during World War 2. Everyone from NPR to Kirkus praised her vivid style and picturesque descriptions (I waved fists to the heavens and yelled, "I've been saying that for years!"). This was followed, of course, by Dreamers of the Day, another remarkable yarn. And, as if you think you know what you're getting with Mary, she changes things again. Get ready to saddle up with DOC.
Frankly, this is my most anticipated book of 2011. A Russell novel is always cause for celebration, but entering the Western genre is of equal importance. The genre is fading fast and what remains of it is oft stylized and heavy on embellishment. Thinking of Russell researching and writing of Wyatt and Doc thrills me in a way I have trouble explaining. If you need your senses whet, revisit our last chat: http://www.theauthorsspeak.com/2010/07/authors-speak-mary-doria-russell.html
This weekend - Saturday, 4/23/2011, at 12pm EST - Mary will join us for the Authors Speak Live. My biggest regret is that we'll only have thirty minutes to chat. I can easily talk to her for hours on end. Join us this weekend at www.blogtalkradio.com/theauthorsspeakcom for an exciting conversation about true American icons.