Iowa Writers' Workshop Alumni in 'Bookforum'

The April/May issue of Bookforum features work by Workshop alumni Nathan Englander, A.M. Homes, and Laura Mullen.

Peter Terzian reviews Nathan Englander's debut novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, observing that the heroes of novel, as well as those in Englander's first book, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, have "what Penelope Fitzgerald called 'the courage of those who are born to be defeated.'" In her roundup of new poetry titles, Emily Warn reviews Laura Mullen's genre-defying collection, Murmur, a crime story with no beginning or end, one that subverts the usual satisfactions of a detective novel. Warn writes that the book became accessible to her as a reader once she "stopped reading from cover to cover and started reading it as poetry." She advises the reader:

Begin wherever, obsess, overhear, worry, swoon. In revising the detective formula, Mullen invents a hybrid form that releases the gothic horrors of the present, exposing how they intrude into and mangle our private wars. Dip into it and revel; read it and unravel.

In an interview with Kera Bolonik, A.M. Homes discusses her book The Mistress's Daughter, a memoir about meeting her biological parents:

You become a writer because you want to make contact with people and you want to be known. As someone who has lived a lot of her lifetime in a public kind of way, it's very ironic that I'm about to become much more well known in such an intimate way for the story that is both my big secret and the truth of who I am.

A significant portion of the issue's content is available for free online at Bookforum's website, including all of the articles mentioned above.

"Invisible Clan," by Peter Terzian
"Sing Bodies Eclectic," by Emily Warn
Bookforum Interviews A.M. Homes