The Spring/Summer 2020 Algonquin Reader

For these days when the expression “When pigs fly . . .” never felt more appropriate, we’re swooping in with The Algonquin Reader. This Spring/Summer edition features original, smart, thoughtful, personal essays from bestselling authors Julia Alvarez, Jill McCorkle, Larry Watson, and Caroline Leavitt, along with newcomers Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Richard Farrell, and Shurti Swamy. Plus the Reader has excerpts from each of their works of new fiction this season.

The Reader is a wonderful look at what’s new from Algonquin, as well as a peek behind the curtain at what inspires our authors. For example, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai describes how she could trace the footsteps of her ancestors through writing The Mountains Sing and “bring to life the underrepresented women and children who often suffer the consequences of wars.”  And you can hear Shruti Swamy, author of the collection A House Is a Bodydescribe the stories her father told her, making them up on the spot. Those stories taught her that “words can make a house, a place in which to live.”

Richard Farrell channeled his love of flying into his debut novel, The Falling Woman, a story of the sole survivor of a plane crash and the investigator assigned to find her.

Julia Alvarez, author of Afterlife, describes how she likes to be prepared, how her family’s plans went out the window when they had to escape the Dominican Republic in a hurry, and how “mortality, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, surprised me.”

Jill McCorkle returns with an essay about her new novel, Hieroglyphics: “Everyone has a secret. Everyone has a memory that haunts or lingers.”

Larry Watson writes about twins—”my family is rife with twins”—and identity and how others choose to see us for his newest, The Lives of Edie Pritchard.

And Caroline Leavitt shares a personal story about transformation and well-being that informed her new novel, With or Without You.

We hope the Reader can help you find comfort in the power of words. As we go through these challenging times together, these stories and essays show us why books are so powerful.

Please download and read the whole Spring/Summer 2020 Algonquin Reader.

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