Speaking Volumes
3:37 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Learning to Tell a Story Through Fiction

Credit C.E. Mitchell, Courtesy of Lee Gutkind

Although he founded the Pittsburgh-based magazine Creative Nonfiction, writer and editor Lee Gutkind is an avid reader of fiction. Gutkind finds that fiction holds the key to understanding the art of storytelling.  

Meg Wolitzer, “The Interestings

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In "The Interestings," Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, "The Interestings" explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

-MegWolitzer.com

Gillian Flynn,  “Gone Girl

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

-Gillian-Flynn.com

Dave Eggers, “A Hologram for the King

In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman named Alan Clay pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter's college tuition, and finally do something great. In “A Hologram for the King,” Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together.

-Barnes and Noble

Michael Connelly, “The Black Box

In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photojournalist during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch’s ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue.

Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the “black box,” the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together. Riveting and relentlessly paced, The Black Box leads Harry Bosch into one of his most fraught and perilous cases.

-MichaelConnelly.com