The writer, whose new novel is '' Time's Mouth, '' reads in the tub.

.-  What books are on your night stand ?

'' The Book of Goose,'' by Yiyun Li ; '' Lighthead,'' by Terrance Hayes ; '' Reich for Beginners,'' by David Zane Mairowitz ; '' Froodle, '' by Antoinette Portis; '' Stories I've Been Meaning to Tell You, '' by Andy Romanoff.

Beneath this pile lies an unbound manuscript of Marie Matsuki Mockett's forthcoming novel, '' The Tree Doctor.'' I loved it so much that I can't bear to toss it.

.-  Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

In 2022 I read Larry McMurtry's '' Lonesome Dove'' and told anyone who would listen how beautiful, moving and immersive it is. What a sense of place!

I've since been making my way through his oeuvre; the man wrote a lot of books, so it'll take me a while. McMurtry reportedly had a sweatshirt made for himself that read MINOR REGIONAL NOVELIST. I'd like one too, please.

.-  Can a great book be badly written? What other criteria can overcome bad prose?

I'm more of a plot bound than some other writers I know, but not so much so that I can overlook a rash of clunky sentences or a cliche pileup.

.-  What's your favorite book no one else has heard of?

The late Carolyn See wrote unique novels that were always surprising and somewhat deranged - in the best way.

I wish more readers would rediscover the vicious mother-daughter relationship in '' Rhine Maidens. '' It's 1970s California [ and Coalinga, Calif, no less! ], which is basically catnip for me.

.-  Which writers working today do you admire most?

Margaret Atwood, Rachel Aviv, Brit Bennett, Anne Carson, Dan Chaon, Ted Chiang, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen, Gillian Flynn, Angela Garbes, Katherine Heiny, Michelle Huneven, Samantha Irby, Edward P Jones, Patrick Radden Keefe, Lydia Kiesling, Laura Lippman, Attica Locke, Ling Ma, Wesley Morris, Sharon Olds, Parul Sehgal, George Saunders, Danzy Senna, Diane Seuss, Diana Spiotta, Susan Straight, Jia Tolentino, Charles Yu ........ oh, I could go on.

.-  Has a book ever brought you closer to another person, or come between you?

I had a shirt made with a picture of Joy William's story collection '' Taking Care '' printed across the front. Imagine my surprise when, at Chuck E. Cheese with my three kids on a Saturday, a random dad came up to me to discuss my shirt, and Joy Williams.

.-  Which subjects do you wish more authors would write about?

I love when writers write about bodies, about how it feels to carry those bodies through the world.

.-  Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

I love good old literary fiction where scene is just an excuse for characters to think about their lives, where revelation counts as plot. I also love a genre I'll call ''viciously clever woman makes bad decisions '' as well as the '' funny / sad '' genre.

.-  What's the best book you've ever received as a gift?

The summer before my junior year of college, I returned home to Los Angeles and worked at Book Soup bookstore in West Hollywood. My coworker Patrick and I became fast friends, going to the movies, to dinner, to parties, and, of course, sharing book recommendations.

Right before I left to go back to school, he gave me a copy of, ''Goodbye, Columbus,'' by Philiip Roth. On the title page he wrote, '' Edan, For the summer - Thanks.'' I was done for. We're married now.

.-  You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Every couple of months my favorite group of Los Angeles women writers gets together for dinner and drinks : Jade Chang, Janelle Brown, Rufi Thorpe, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney and Stephanie danler.

Their talent is staggering, as is the love I feel for them. 

We are supportive of each other, and transparent about sticky career stuff, and we always laugh so hard - and eat so well. I'm taking our confessions and trash talks to the grave.

.-  Who would you want to write your life story?

Robert Caro, call me!

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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