My story “A Drowning at Snow’s Cut” appears in the May 2011 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. In it, a father and son join one another for a boat trip down the North Carolina coast. Both men are struggling with grief after the death of their wife/mother, and the younger man, a journalist, is also coming to terms with having lost his job at the paper — and then they cross paths with other boaters and the whole weekend takes a deadly turn. The story was inspired by a cruise my own father and I took a couple of years back. Fortunately, my mom is very much still with us, and our own trip featured none of the father-son conflicts found in the story. Oh, and no corpse either. — Art Taylor
Archive for February, 2011
With the start of a new semester at Mason, plus a short-term class I’m teaching at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a short class I’m taking at The Writer’s Center, the recent AWP Conference (first panel appearance!) and several Mystery Writers of America duties (and last night’s dinner speaker was great)…. well, I’m behind on the blog here. To fill the gap, how about a quick look at some books that have recently crossed my desk and caught my eye?
Ever since I first encountered his novels in college (and was lucky enough to hear him speak there too), Mario Vargas Llosa has been one of my favorite writers, not only because of his rich subject matter but also because of his stylistic daring, particularly in some of his earlier books. (Conversation in the Cathedral seems to tower in this respect, although The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta may remain my personal favorite.) Each new novel from him leaps to the top of my to-read list, and hearing that he won last year’s Nobel Prize was a great treat. The first new book of his to be published in translation in the wake of that win isn’t a novel but a collection of nonfiction writing: Touchstones: Essays on Literature, Art and Politics — a title drawn from the name of the column Vargas Llosa regularly contributes to the Spanish newspaper El País. His essays have often proven as thoughtful and provocative as his novels (I’ve also enjoyed two previous collections, Making Waves and The Language of Passion), and this new book finds him browsing — as the subtitle promises — through the worlds of classic literature (The Heart of Darkness, Lolita, The Tin Drum, Deep Rivers, as well as Don Quixote, which he terms “A Twenty-First-Century Novel”), art (including both his beloved Botero and Paul Gauguin, subject of Vargas Llosa’s terrific novel The Way to Paradise), and politics, not just in his native Peru but throughout Latin America, in the U.S., and around the world. While the novels are surely the best starting point for learning about the most recent Nobel Laureate, this collection offers deeper insights into the passions and concerns of the man behind those books. Read the rest of this entry ?