Friday Fiction: International Festival Of Authors Edition by Alex Snider

Ah, fall! Sweaters, long walks through crunchy multi-coloured leaves, pumpkin-flavoured everything (sadly no apple-flavoured stuff this season – t'was a bumper crop year : ((( ), the return of network TV, the stress of finding a (group) Halloween costume (Limp Bizkit backup dancers? The girls from The CraftThe Babysitter's Club? Agents Scully and Reyes? A binder full of women?) before just abandoning every idea to stay in and do nothing like the curmudgeon you're trying desperately to avoid becoming... Oh baby, it's my favourite time of year! It's also that magical time when droves (packs? schools? murders?) of authors descend upon Toronto for the International Festival of Authors. And this IFOA? This one is a doozey (<– I'm a good writer). Here are a few of my favourite authors who will giving interviews and readings at the festival.

Junot Diaz – I get fluttery, bookish feelings when I see his name/face/books. He is the greatest and maybe I'm emotional because I have a headache but I feel like crying just thinking about his writing. His new book, This is How You Lose Her, is a collection of short stories that I've not read yet because I sometimes get off on withholding things from myself (also: I'm poor) but his other collection, Drown, and his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are mind-blowingly phenomenal. Just terrific.

Alice Munro – If I could grant immortality to one person (outside of loved ones) it would be to Alice Munro because I want her to just write forever. Selfish? Absolutely. Every one of her stories is a slow burning drama which in my expert opinion is the best kind of drama. Each character, each plot haunts my waking life (I'll never get Juliet and Penelope out of my head or Carla and that poor little goat, Flora). She is the masterclass of short fiction.

Paul Auster – Paul Auster writes in such a cool, unaffected style that I always forget about how much I love Paul Auster. His books are subdued and subtle but still steeped in depth and meaning. He is very much an "American Male Writer" but he remains, in my mind, separate from those other 'masculine' schools heralded by Hemingway and Fitzgerald and trumpeted by DeLillo and Ford and Salter – so overspent in sex and angst. His work often has overtones of noir (if not being outright detective novels as with The New York Trilogy) but always remains extremely meditative. 

Lynn Crosbie – A Canadian poet, Lynn Crosbie flays you open, pours in some salt then makes you laugh. Her poems are like my mum's back massages: they somehow dig beyond the muscles, between the tendons and are uncomfortable and painful. Unlike my mum's massages though, Crosbie's poems are therapeutic in their precision and offer commiseration after the hurt. Sorry mum – love you! 

Louise Erdrich – Louise Erdrich has the precision of a surgeon when it comes to laying bare the human condition. Her characters are painfully three-dimensional with all their dreams, hopes and flaws viscerally real. And the way she shows how devastating colonialism, racism and the various (and plentiful) systemic policies of oppression facing American Indian people have on communities and on individuals is nearly unrivalled in American literature. I just finished Tracks and I am already feeling like I need to go back and read it again as soon as possible. 

John Ralston Saul – Are there scholarly, history-nerd, interested-in-Canadian-law Lefties who don't have brain crushes on John Ralston Saul? I didn't think so. 

And there are so, so, so many more amazing authors! Go see as many as you can! Students and youngsters under 25 get in free! Also happening in Toronto this weekend? The ImagineNative Film Festival at the TIFF Lightbox! Lots of great looking movies/shorts to check out! And the After Dark Film Festival! And? Dinner and Western movie night at my friends' James and Erica's (you're probably not invited to that, though, sorry)! And? That's probably it. Well, probably not, there's definitely a couple bands playing and there's most likely some kind of theatre thing going on. How even do you decide what to do?! 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Enjoy a scary movie and a pumpkin spice latte and read a great book!

Alex Snider reads books, writes fiction and bleeds ink. Her blog is What Fresh Hell is This and her twitter is @what_freshhell to keep things nice and streamlined.


Alex said...

Alice Munro canceled

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