Amy Grace Loyd spoke to Kerri today about her new novel, “The Affairs of Others.” Kerri asked Loyd for three books or authors she thinks everyone should read. Here’s what popped into her head:
Jonathan Franzen turned Loyd on to William Maxwell, who served as fiction editor at The New Yorker for decades. Loyd says you should read his novella “So Long, See You Tomorrow.”
Here’s Maxwell in The Paris Review describing his writing process:
With So Long, See You Tomorrow I felt that in this century the first-person narrator has to be a character and not just a narrative device. So I used myself as the “I” and the result was two stories, my own and Cletus Smith’s, and I knew they had to be structurally combined, but how? One day I was in our house in Westchester County, and I was sitting on the side of the bed putting my shoes on, half stupefied after a nap and thinking, If I sit on the edge of the bed I will ruin the mattress, when my attention was caught by a book. I opened it and read part of a long letter from Giacometti to Matisse describing how he came to do a certain piece of sculpture—Palace at 4 a.m.—it’s in the Museum of Modern Art—and I said, “There’s my novel!” It was as simple as that. But I didn’t know until that moment whether the book would work out or not.