Dec 21, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Peter Swanson

This week: an early Christmas present. 

Peter Swanson is the author of three novels, The Girl with A Clock for a Heart, The Kind Worth Killing and coming early in 2017, Her Every Fear.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College; his writing and poetry has been featured in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian and The Strand Magazine. Swanson’s books have won him the New England Society book award and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger which is appropriate because the first adult novel he read was Goldfinger. 

He thinks that ‘Being lost in a book, totally removed from your own life, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.’ Peter lives with his wife and cat in Massachusetts.

Here is Peter's week in his own words.

While I normally only read one book from start to finish at a time, this past week has been an odd one. I have a deadline coming up for a Top Ten List of Best Books With Voyeurs for The Guardian, so I have been reading like a maniac. These are the books I’ve dipped into during the last seven days.

The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith (1962). It starts off with a harmless voyeur who gets his kicks spying on a lone woman. Not one of Highsmith’s best but still very good.

Sliver by Ira Levin (1991). It was a fast read, like all of Levin’s books, about a rich man who buys an apartment building so he can spy on all of his tenants. Sick and twisted, and with a nice suspenseful conclusion.

The Collector by John Fowles (1963). A very creepy  and well-written novel (Fowles’ debut!) in which a butterfly collector turns his eye to a pretty girl he sees on his street. You can imagine that it doesn’t end well.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted life by Ruth Franklin (2016). I needed a little break from voyeurs so started this one. I love biographies of writers, and am partial to the mid-twentieth century, so this book was very appealing to me.

The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang (2010). This is a science fiction short story that I read because it was the basis of Arrival, one of my favorite films from this past year. The story was actually better than the film, testament to what a writer can accomplish in the short story form. Emotionally devastating. 

Peter's week in a nutshell

The Cry of the Owl (2016)
Sliver (1991)
The Collector (1963)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (2016)
The Story of Your Life (2010)

The Kind Worth Killing is out in paperback 9780062267535
Her Every Fear is out in Hardcover January 10th, 2017 9780062427021

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