Elizabeth Graver!

On July 5th, I get to read with Elizabeth Graver, author of, most recently, THE END OF THE POINT.

Little known fact:  when I was in college, Elizabeth’s parents were my English professors.  I also worked for them–grocery shopping, cooking, etc.  I have fond and clear memories of standing in their kitchen doorway, chatting with Elizabeth, home from Wesleyan, about writing, parents, books.  I still remember one story she told about the epiphanic moment when she was a child when her parents were calling for her, and she realized she didn’t have to answer.

Come find out more strange facts about the two of us at our event next week.



Literary Affairs Summer Reading List


The Page 69 Test

Intrigued?  Read on:


Dragon Ladies

The essay an unidentified women’s magazine rejected for being “too emotionally complicated.”  Thank goodness places like The Millions exist.

For those of you who like being moved and pained, read on:


Interview in “Interview”

Check out my chat with talented author Lisa Dierbeck:


On Launches and Lifeboats







In 2004, I went to a lecture about Chinese workers who had lived in North Adams, MA in 1870.  Last night, I launched my novel based on those events at MASS MoCA, under Xu Bing’s Phoenixes.  I was up until 3:00 a.m. (the first time that’s happened since my wedding night, probably), so I’m not sure how coherent I’ll be here, but it’s worth a shot, mostly because I want to give a huge shout out of gratitude for the gang who helped celebrate with me.


This was a group of people who, in ways large and small, have been champions of this book since I first finished it in 2008, failed to sell it through 2009, put it into a file drawer until 2011, pulled it out of a file drawer, dusted it off, sold it to the amazing Tin House Books in 2012, buffed and polished it with a lot of help, and now get to watch it come out into the world, close to a decade after I first went to that lecture.

My husband, my first and ultimate reader, was there.

My daughter, who was two when this project first started, and is now almost eleven was there.




The reception was catered by one of my closest friends.

My middle son was waitstaff, photographed the event, made sure I had appetizers at the book signing table, and, most importantly, brought me a beer when the talking was over.



My oldest is too busy being a rock star in NYC in a band called THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL , but he was sorely missed.

Two of the writers who blurbed the book were there.  The photographer who works magic with my author photos was there.  My son’s best friend was the other waiter.  My daughter’s best friends were there.



The best friends’ parents were there.  Two of the woman who cut my hair were there.  My massage therapist was there.  My neighbor, former college professor, former colleague came directly from an MRI.  She was there.  Twenty or more of my colleagues at Williams College were there, some of whom were my undergraduate professors over twenty-five years ago.  Two of my Ladies’ Night Out partners in crime were there.  The couple who my son babysits for was there.

You get the idea.

Those of you who know what it’s like to do a book event know that, at its best, it can be exhausting, anxiety-provoking, and at its worst it can be positively soul-sucking.

But here is what happened last night: I got to stand underneath fantastic sculptures in one of the most stunning gallery spaces in the world.  I got to stand in the embrace of some of my closest, closest friends from all different circles of my life.  Their ongoing excitement for and belief in the book over the last decade has been a lifeboat in the storm.  I would have drowned without them.  Today, I am giving thanks.




Holding Forth



Three recent interviews in which I go on and on and on.  Sound good?  Read on: