A Conversation With Josh Malerman

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Credit: Josh Malerman

In his debut novel, Josh Malerman examines an apocalyptic world in which humans are terrorized by unseen forces.  These “monsters” are completely invisible to the naked eye, but if your gaze happens to fall upon one, the consequences include possession, violence, and eventually, suicide.  To survive, the characters wear blindfolds to protect their vision, but the full capabilities of the unseen creatures are still a mystery, so the world of Bird Box is one of chaos, fear, paranoia, and desperation.  If horror is your preferred genre, you NEED to read Bird Box.

As a debut novelist and singer/songwriter/musician for the band The High Strung, Josh Malerman has a lot of creative energy, and luckily we were able to briefly chat with him about his double career in music and literature.  What follows is a conversation about creativity, fear, inspiration, and the psychological motivations behind his spectacular novel:

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A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN MICHAEL CUMMINGS

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In his most recent novel, John Michael Cummings explores a painful and traumatic intersection of  family and mental illness.  As we mentioned in our review of the book, Don’t Forget Me, Bro is not a heart-warming family tale of redemption and faith, but it is “an engrossing, honest, and empathetic account of the bravery, will-power, and perseverance it takes to endure mental illness on a daily basis.”

This week, we had a chance to get to know John Michael Cummings a little better and to further explore the influences and motivations behind Don’t Forget Me, Bro.  What follows is a heartfelt and poetic conversation about trauma, memory, mental illness, fear, and perseverance…with a little added flair of Bruce Springsteen and The Hardy Boys:

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A Conversation with Zachary Karabashliev

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Published by Open Letter Books, Bulgarian author Zachary Karabashliev’s debut novel 18% Gray was our Critical Era book club selection back in April.  We loved this at times horrific, yet often quite hilarious tale of one man’s journey across the United States, stating in our review that “[…] the beauty of this particular tale lies in the author’s supreme skill at weaving together autobiographical nuggets with invented exaggerations and half-truths in order to create a spellbinding, slightly skewed, meta-fictional version of reality where every experience, no matter how minor, carries heightened significance, and the absurd becomes the expected norm.”

We finally had a chance to catch up with Mr. Karabashliev and what follows below is a mostly spoiler-free discussion about photography, translation, and adaptation.

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A Conversation With Laline Paull

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A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to read Laline Paull’s debut novel, The Bees, which has generated quite a buzz (pun intended!) in the literary community.  This imaginative and curious novel tells the story of Flora 717, a worker bee struggling to rise the ranks of her hive and gain the respect of her brothers and sisters.  When Flora discovers a deadly and mysterious secret about the hive, she must explore forbidden and dangerous territory in order to save her colony.  But Flora has a secret of her own, and she soon realizes that her fight for survival has only just begun [Full Review Here].

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A Conversation with Elizabeth Harris

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Translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris, Giulio Mozzi’s short story collection This is The Garden re-imagines the world as a fallen Eden and follows its inhabitants as they stumble through their personal explorations into the inner workings of life, love, work, and belief. Gracefully translated, it serves as an exciting showcase for Mozzi’s captivating storytelling power.

Recently, Ms. Harris generously agreed to answer a few questions for our readers about her translation process, her work on Mozzi’s collection, and the differences between translating short fiction and full-length novels.

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