My dear friend Maggie Shipstead has a new novel out –Astonish Me– and it's so ravishing I didn't even rewatch Frozen on my flight to LA and instead ripped through my galley in a six-hour head rush of literary gorgeousness.
New York in the 70's. Soviet defection. Sex, drugs, ballet. But what Maggie really nails, in a brutal, Didonesque way, is the complexity of female friendship and rivalry. And the physical sacrifice for sport, emotional sacrifice for art. My favorite book of the spring.
Also, recently: Rachel Kushner's superb The Flamethrowers. I swam the length with my breath held and emerged a little light-headed on the other side. Motorcycle racing, New York and Rome in the mid-70's, A Judd-and-Flavin-like crew downtown having dinner parties, affairs. Also a book about physical and emotional lengths and WOMENS.
What are you reading? What's good? Maggie told me I need to read Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie. Also have The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis on my bedside (which is by the way the EXACT color of the asbestos shingles on Flat Top). I'm deep into Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World and finding it equal parts chorish and dazzling. More women-in-art, women-making-art, women-suffering-art. DO YOU SEE A THEME HERE?
Hopie and I leave for India in a week. P. and Dolly (and Hopie and Block Shop) and I are ALL moving to Los Angeles in a month. After years of searching, I finally found a pencil cholla in bloom on our last trip to Joshua Tree. That's the latest, now what are you reading?