Bookpages interview



We readers can be greedy things. Mere books are not enough for us: We want the authors, too. We want their autographs, their photographs, handshakes, interviews. We want them to tell us all the secret things they didn’t put in the book–we want it all, the entire package. And these days, they’re more or less obligated to sell it to us.

In her hilarious, merciless, entirely delightful new novel,  Amy Falls Down, Jincy Willett digs into this phenomenon from several angles. Our protagonist, Amy Gallup, is a contentedly washed-up fiction writer in her 60s who spends most of her days teaching writing classes online from her California home. Then one day she trips in the garden, conks her head on a birdbath and proceeds to give a newspaper interview she doesn’t remember doing.

The interview, and Amy’s intriguingly odd (because totally concussed) behavior during it, leads to newfound fame for the long out-of-print writer. “You’re not gonna understand it, but you are gonna have to trust me,” her agent tells her. “You’re not just a writer now. You’re a package.”

Amy finds the sudden attention at various points invasive, thrilling, oppressive, scary, sad and gross. Even as she resents the way in which a writer’s work has come to include the roles of performer and media personality, Amy learns to make it work for her. Turns out, she has a knack for it. One of the many pleasures of  Amy Falls Down  is watching Amy venture out of her shell and have fun toying with the media, the publishing industry, her students and pretty much everyone else. She has nothing to lose, and no interest in impressing anybody; consequently, she has no filter, and she gets away with saying things others won’t.

When a writer suffers a bump on the head, her literary career gets an unexpected boost.

Willett has many things in common with her protagonist, including that same amused befuddlement regarding the “packaging” of writers. By phone from her home in Escondido, California, where the Rhode Islander has lived since 1988, Willett talked about publicity, humor, David Sedaris and the curse of potential, among other things.

Amy’s biography matches Willett’s in several ways: same age, similar geographical background, nearly identical smart-aleck websites. Both teach writing online. Some of the lines Amy spouts in the book turn up in Willett’s interviews. The parallels are noticeable.

“My feeling about using autobiographical material is, I’m completely free to use my own character, but not free to use anybody else’s,” Willett explains. “She’s a lot like me, but that’s it.” Everything else is invented–and in fact, as Willett sees it, Amy actually “has nothing to do with me.”

“It’s lazy, that’s all,” she explains. Using a character that doesn’t need to be invented from whole cloth makes it easier for the author to spend her energy playing with ideas and themes. “The more you make things up, the more likely you are to discover things you didn’t know about yourself,” she says. “Whereas when you’re actually working with what you know, what you’re really doing is crystallizing things you’ve been turning over for a long, long time.” This leads to fiction that engages in the world of ideas and arguments, Willett says. “Not that you have a message–because that’s obnoxious.” The goal has more to do with “exploring certain issues you think are important, and you want to see if you’re right about them.”

Then, too, there’s the fact that using a protagonist only slightly removed from oneself adds to the fun of Amy’s unguarded venting, which focuses on the absurdities of the publishing world. “It was wonderful for me to be able to rant on and on about this stuff,” Willett says. “She does sort of go on.”

Late in the novel, Amy ends a speech by telling the crowd, “I am here accidentally and just for the moment.” Willett seems similarly unimpressed with the idea of fame. It means nothing, she says, except in the sense of still being known 200 years from now–“that’s a big deal.” But the thrill of writing lies elsewhere: “It’s communication, that’s all it is. You can reach out and you can actually communicate with people, even after you’re dead. All we’re doing, really, is talking to each other.”

Willett says she “stumbled into” writing in her 30s (unlike Amy, who was a promising young superstar). “When I was a child I lived in my head entirely, and of course I wanted to write,” Willett says. She finally composed one sentence at age 10, and found it so terrible that she “stopped forever.” But she fell back into writing in college, when she took a random creative writing class while majoring in philosophy. She really just wanted an easy A (“I was trying for a 4.0!”), but once she’d submitted a story, the professor told her she should send it to magazines. This sort of thing might be thrilling to some, but Willett was devastated. “The truth is, it’s one thing to have this daydream,” she says, but when it becomes a real possibility, then it’s suddenly your fault if the dream doesn’t happen. “Great, thanks!” Willett thought. “I was perfectly happy as a philosophy student!”

Nevertheless, she kept writing stories, and her first story collection,  Jenny and the Jaws of Life, was published in 1987. She might have continued writing fiction in relative obscurity except that David Sedaris discovered and fell in love with the book, and raved about it publicly.

“That was a very happy circumstance for me,” Willett says. “The thing I like about it is that it’s not a networking story–the only reason we got connected is that he discovered me in a library.” The two have since met and become friends. The Sedaris connection was particularly exciting for Willett because of her fondness for his particular lineage of American writers, especially the humorists of the ’20s and ’30s (S.J. Perelman is a favorite). “There aren’t many people doing that anymore,” she says, adding that writers today hesitate to make light of things. But the fact that something is funny doesn’t mean it has no weight, she argues: “If you’re doing it right, it doesn’t make light of anything.”

Illustrating the point, Willett’s prickly, unvarnished protagonist is at once gruffly funny and unexpectedly touching, the sort of curmudgeon who imagines she’s driving people away but is in fact winning their devotion, wholly by accident. A large part of this ability comes from the accumulated wisdom of having been around a while–something else the author and her character share.

“Writing is an older person’s game,” Willett says. “Experience helps, living helps.”

Union-Tribune Interview

(for Amy Falls Down)



By  John Wilkens12:01 a.m.July 7, 2013Updated1:58 p.m.July 5, 2013

Escondido author Jincy Willett’s new novel is about serendipity, something she knows well.

Her critically admired 1987 short-story collection, “Jenny and the Jaws of Life,” was out of print – and her career was mostly dormant – until humorist David Sedaris, someone she’d never met, mentioned it an interview in 2001 as the book he’d most like to rescue from obscurity.

“Jenny” got reprinted, and Willett has gone on to write three novels, the newest being “Amy Falls Down,” which comes out Tuesday. It’s a smart and witty tale about a reclusive writer, once deemed promising and now happily obscure, whose fortunes change after accidentally hitting her head on a birdbath.

Willett will be at Warwick’s at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Q: Let me ask you a question Amy asks her workshop students in the book: Why do you write?

A: I’m not one of these writers who feels compelled. I think that I write because every now and then I get a good idea and then I’m curious about it and I want to see what happens. Any act of writing, particularly fiction, is a kind of exploration. You have a vague idea of where you’re going, but you have no idea if you are going to get there.

Q: Amy was the main character in your earlier book “The Writing Class.” Why did you want to return to her?

A: I just wanted to see what happened to her next. I knew Amy really well because she and I have a lot in common, so I knew I could work with her and I already had her in place. So I thought, what if she fell down and hit her head?

I’m interested in the role of accidents in our lives. To me, accidents are really haunting, more so than even murders. When something awful happens as a result of an accident, it just drives us insane – at least it does me. You can’t stop thinking, “My God, if I had just turned left instead of right, my whole life would have been different.” And this is true in a good sense, too. We have wonderful things that happen because we turn left instead of right.

Q: It’s a mostly positive thing that happens to Amy, although she doesn’t quite know what to make of it.

A: No. She’s a very resistant person. It’s just serendipity. I know that in my own life and in the lives of people that I’ve known, one damn thing happens after another, and sometimes the string of things that happen turns out to be significant. This is where a lot of people will say, “See, everything happens for a purpose.” I don’t know what they mean when they say that. I really don’t.

Q: What parts of Amy are you?

A: Spiritually, Amy and I are pretty much the same person in terms of our general outlook about books, about writing, life in general. We both had bassets, although mine has passed on to his wonderful reward. Whenever I would bog down, I could write about the basset. There’s nothing like a basset hound as far as I’m concerned.

But the biographical facts of Amy’s life are not mine. For one thing, she’s a much better writer than I am; I was never nominated for anything. She blossomed early as a writer; I actually stumbled into it later in life, when I was close to 30. I’m a widow, as is she, and we both had wonderful marriages, but I was not married to a gay man. And I had a child, she didn’t, which is a profound difference.

Q: Are there parts of Amy you wish you were more like?

A: I wish I had more talent. I’ll tell you what is really funny. When I finished, I don’t usually bug my publisher about anything, but I actually said to him, “Do you know of any agents who would be really good with publicity and stuff?” I’ve never had an agent because I never saw the point, but I realized kind of halfway through that I want Maxine (the fictional agent in the book). How childish is that? Man, I would love to have Maxine. Who wouldn’t? Your dream agent.

Q: Your book has some interesting observations about buzz and celebrity. Why did you want to write about that?

A: Oh, because I watch way too much TV. Honestly, my real job is I work four hours a day, seven days a week as an online writing tutor, and because of that I’m staring at print on screens. You know what that does to your eyes? It’s not good. As a result, my reading has cut way back, and to fill the void I watch way too much television. It’s made me aware of our culture of celebrity.

Pile on top of that the way the publishing process has changed so radically from when I started out in the ’80s, sending my stories out. The hurdles you have to go through as a starting writer are so different now. And everybody in the world seems to want to get published. I have lots of opinions about all that, and it was pleasant for me to exercise them.

Q: At one point in the book, Amy suggests we should stop publishing any new books for 10 or 20 years to let readers catch up. Is that something you see some merit in?

A: Yeah, I do.

Q: It would have to start after publication of this one, of course.

A: Of course. I’m really objecting more as a reader than a writer to just the glut of published work. We don’t have any shared experiences as readers any more because there’s just so much stuff. You’re either going to be reduced to having to read the same best-sellers, or you’re going to be reading something but you’ll be all alone with it because you won’t know anyone else who read it. I just think it would be really swell if we could have a breather.

Q: You’ve been described in reviews as a literary humorist. How do you know when something is funny?

A: The truth is, there is humor that appeals to a wide swath of people, and then humor that appeals to a smaller group. There’s no such thing as universal funny. I write something and if I actually crack up writing it, then that’s all there is to it.

Q: I see on your website you have an accumulation of news stories about people getting arrested after stuffing things down their pants. What’s that about?

A: I don’t know. I guess it’s kind of obsessive. Every so often I get on the Internet and say, “OK, have we finally stopped stuffing things?” But no, we’re still doing it. I feel like I’m performing some kind of bizarre service. It’s just amazing to me. Tarantulas. The one I thought was hilarious was the woman with a crowbar, lurking around a church. I’m trying to imagine how you could possibly stuff a crowbar down your pants.

Q: There’s a line from your book that goes, “We write fiction to make sense of the world.” Has it worked that way for you?

A: I think it works that way for everybody, whether you are writing fiction or just telling yourself what happened today. We tell stories all the time; we do it from the time we are infants. This is the way the human brain works; it creates narrative threads, and it uses them to make sense of situations. We are very picky about the things we remember and we order them in certain ways, all in the service of story, and the story is in the service of understanding and making sense out of chaos. For people who think that storytelling is not terribly important or frivolous or something, I always say you’ve got it completely backward. Without stories we’d be nowhere. Nowhere at all.

© Copyright 2013 The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC. An MLIM LLC Company. All rights reserved.


Old Interviews

There’s an enticing header! Better late than never, I guess.   I thought I’d included these in earlier posts.  

Here’s a very nice one from Redivider Magazine, November, 2004:

Here’s from the San Diego Reader, 6/25/2008:

And Barbara Davenport did a great one for San Diego Citybeat, June 17, 2008:

Interview with KUCI “Writers on Writing”

“Writers on Writing” on KUCI is an excellent regular program, on which many great writers–Tobias Wolff, for example–have been interviewed at length. There’s a regular podcast to which you can subscribe for free. If you’re interested, check out their schedule:

The interviewers are sharp: they’ve actually read the books and they ask great questions.

Here’s an interview with me (on Jenny and the Jaws of Life) from January 28, 2009.   It’s the second half of the interview–you must FF past the music, etc.

KUCI interview (2d half) Jan-28-2009

Interview with ABC Radio


That’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the interview took place on August 13, 2008.  Here’s the audio:

Here’s the transcript:

Peter Mares: The Writing Class is a piece of darkly comic crime fiction. The hero, Amy Gallup, had early success as a novelist but in recent years her words have dried up. She now ekes out a living teaching evening classes in creative writing at a second-rate college. The weekly class is about the only thing that gets Amy out of the house, and while jaded, Amy is a good teacher and strives to do a professional job.


The novel begins with the start of a new class that brings together an odd assortment of aspiring authors; a pompous doctor, a young feminist forever complaining about gender stereotypes, a divorcee whose real interest is in meeting women, and an older woman who won’t hear a critical word said about anyone else’s work. There are some writers with latent talent and some hopeless cases incapable of a cliché-free sentence.


In short, it’s a class much like any other, until things start to go a bit weird. Instead of the constructive criticism of fellow students’ work that’s called for, someone is writing poison pen letters, vicious and nasty. The letters escalate into threats and then the first class member ends up dead.


The author of The Writing Class is Jincy Willett who joins me from San Diego. Jincy Willett, welcome to The Book Show.


Jincy Willett: How do you do?


Peter Mares: You teach creative writing. Have you often wished that your students have dropped dead?


Jincy Willett: If I did I wouldn’t admit it. No, I like most of my students and I don’t want them to start killing each other. But I was inspired by the random thought some years ago that some day at one of these workshops somebody’s going to get hurt, just inevitably, so why not make a novel out of it.


Peter Mares: Give us a little taste of The Writing Class, a reading that introduces us more to the central character of the teacher Amy Gallup.


Jincy Willett: Certainly.


[reading from When Amy had still been writing fiction… to …almost as hard as writing.]


Peter Mares: Amy Gallup is a pretty sad figure.


Jincy Willett: Yes, I think she is, but she’s got a sense of humour. But yes, she’s very sad, she’s clinically depressed, and actually it’s kind of a challenge to write a pleasant novel about a clinically depressed person. You have to do some tricks to make them clinically depressed in an entertaining way. But she is sad, yes.


Peter Mares: Because I guess you risk losing our sympathy for her if…


Jincy Willett: Sure. It’s what writing teachers call the fallacy of imitative form. If you want to write about a scary character or event, then you have to scare the reader. If you want your character to be hilarious, you can’t get away with saying ‘he was the funniest guy we ever met’, you have to make the reader laugh. If you want your character to be lovable you have to make the reader love him. But there’s a whole subset of things, like depression and ennui and being repulsive that you have to figure out a way to evoke in the reader without making the reader throw the book across the room.


Peter Mares: Exactly, because it’s not going to work to make the reader depressed, is it, that’s not going to have the desired result.


Jincy Willett: Yes, and the funny thing is…suppose you write about a boring person, you have to make them boring in such a way that in fact they’re the least boring people on earth. It’s a trick.


Peter Mares: They have to be entertaining to the reader.


Jincy Willett: That’s right.


Peter Mares: Amy Gallup lives as a semi-recluse with only her aloof basset hound Alphonse for company, and she’s a loner who hates to be alone. I’m hoping, I suppose, that there’s not too much autobiography in here because, like you, Amy Gallup teaches creative writing, works as a freelance editor, like you she lives in Escondido…you haven’t got a basset hound called Alphonse, have you?


Jincy Willett: My basset hound died recently, which was why I was able to use him without any moral compunction. Sure. I always use myself like crazy, the only thing that I don’t use is the actual facts of my life, my past…there are things that I won’t use but I’m happy to use my personal self and parts of my character and the actual house that I live in. I’m just lazy enough…I mean, why not? You don’t have to sit there and rack your brain, you know what your house looks like.


Peter Mares: So have you got the same ingenious shelving system that Amy Gallup has for all her paperbacks?


Jincy Willett: Yes, absolutely. You would recognise my house.


Peter Mares: Describe that shelving system for our listeners.


Jincy Willett: Before I moved in…I’m a pack rat and I didn’t want to throw away my…I had too many shelves for wall space so I put pine shelving up maybe eight inches below the ceiling in all the rooms so that my paperbacks are all alphabetised up where you can’t get them, you have to use one of those tools that you reach up. But they’re up there, they’re all lining the ceiling in wasted space which wouldn’t be used for anything otherwise.


Peter Mares: So you couldn’t bear to throw them away so you put them where you can’t reach them.


Jincy Willett: That’s right, and I never look at them and it’s a complete waste of effort, but there you go.


Peter Mares: Amy Gallup, your character, hasn’t written for years and, as she says, the only thing harder than writing is not writing. Does that come from personal experience? Have you suffered a drought in your writing at some point?


Jincy Willett: Absolutely. I was way over deadline with this particular novel, and I felt like any minute some mobster was going to come over and break my knees, because I’d already spent the advance. My publisher is lovely, they never even gave me a hard time about it, but I spent a lot of time not writing and I spend lots of time completely dry. Why, I tell myself (and I think it’s at least partly true), is that when I’m not writing I am writing, because I’m one of the writers that when I actually write a page I don’t revise it. Some people do drafts and drafts of one piece, I just do one. So maybe I can kind of make an excuse for how long it took me to write this that way. Things have to simmer in your mind, you have to not be thinking about them in order to work out problems, you know?


Peter Mares: Yes, you can’t just run at it directly, as it were.


Jincy Willett: I certainly can’t, no.


Peter Mares: Jincy, central to the plot of The Writing Class is that everyone in this creative writing workshop knows that one of their number is ‘the sniper’, as you call him, the author of these hateful letters and probably a murderer. So no one can quite trust anyone else, yet they all need to work together if they’re going to solve the mystery.


Jincy Willett: Yes, and I think more to the point they all need to stay together if they’re going to keep writing. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but have you ever been part of a group that just clicked really well? To me it was kind of an interesting philosophical issue; would you consider actually staying with a group if you liked everybody in it and yet intellectually you knew at the same time that one of the people was not who you thought he or she was?


Peter Mares: Someone was deceiving you and threatening you as well.


Jincy Willett: But you don’t know who it is, and meanwhile you’re getting so much out of the community that you’re in that you’re loathe to leave it.


Peter Mares: Because in fact Amy Gallup gets sacked by the college and the students insist that she keeps teaching them. They decide to become autonomous and run the weekly writing workshop themselves.


Jincy Willett: That’s right. The truth is, people who want to write, if they get a good writing teacher or if they get into a place where they can actually feel free to be creative and to be critical, they like to keep going. You’d have to do a lot to stop them. I have no idea whether having a murder…


Peter Mares: A couple of murders might put…


Jincy Willett: Yes, I think that’s probably an exaggeration, but who knows.


Peter Mares: In each weekly class, of course, a student submits a piece of writing for general appraisal, and it could be an awful piece of science fiction or a medical melodrama or a romance or whatever, and Amy and the other class members have to examine this writing with a clinical literary eye, searching for hints that the author might be the one, might be the murderer.


Jincy Willett: That’s right, and also, in keeping with the point of the class, giving honest feedback about the piece itself. I prefer to believe that the class, even when things were really getting creepy, was more about the writing that it was about ‘let’s find out who’s doing it’. I may be kidding myself about this, but at least the teacher was trying to keep the class on point while everything was going to hell.


Peter Mares: They keep coming because they want to have their bits read and they want to submit their…


Jincy Willett: Absolutely, you want to have your turn, and it’s run exactly the way I’ve always run writing classes and the way the best writing classes are run is exactly that way. You pass something out and then everybody takes it home and reads it at their leisure and comes back and discusses it, and I think it’s the way to do it.


Peter Mares: And they all give honest feedback…but do people give honest feedback in those circumstances?


Jincy Willett: No, they don’t. What I always say is it’s worth doing because it’s the closest you can come to quasi disinterested feedback from a bunch of people. When you write a piece and you show it to your mother, she’s going to tell you it’s great. If you send the same piece out to the New Yorker it’s going to come back to you with a brutal ‘leave us alone’ form letter. The only place you’re going to get any kind of feedback where you can actually figure out what you may be doing right or wrong is in a workshop setting. I think in general the teacher is going to be more honest, on average, than other students are. But that depends. Some people are very good readers and very conscientious critics. Mostly they tend to be supportive.


Peter Mares: It raises one of the central issues of a creative class that indeed Amy (your character) deals with, and I guess you have to deal with as a writing teacher as well, and that is; what is the role of the teacher? Do you tell someone, ‘Look, give up now, you’re never going to get published,’ or do you say, ‘Well, try this, try that,’ and maybe sign them up for another term’s course because that way your class keeps going. There’s a certain conflict of interest, isn’t there?


Jincy Willett: Yes, there is, but I’m always very (I hope) conscientious about refusing to address the ‘Can I get this published?’ or ‘Will I ever get published?’ question. I would never answer a question like that because I don’t know. Horrible stuff gets published all the time and wonderful stuff fails to. I could privately think that a particular student would have a snowball’s chance in Hell but I would never say that because it would rude. But any good teacher can help anybody, regardless of whether or not they’re talented, to write better sentences, to write better stories, and as long as they understand that that’s what the contract is, it’s fine.


Peter Mares: Let’s come back to the murder mystery itself, the writing class. There’s a bit of the parlour room mystery here, isn’t there. The text in fact does acknowledge Agatha Christie and her Ten Little Indians.


Jincy Willett: I loved that when I was a kid, I loved Ten Little Indians and I loved the setup where you already know everybody and you know the murderer is one of those people, and then the numbers get smaller and so on, I think it’s great. It’s just a variance of that.


Peter Mares: But you have a level of humour that Agatha Christie never aspired to, I guess.


Jincy Willett: She wasn’t particularly riotous, was she.


Peter Mares: Not that I recall, not a lot of laughs in Murder on the Orient Express as far as I remember.


Jincy Willett: No, those drawing room mysteries tended to be kind of sober and fey. Yes, it was fun writing this, although I must say I’ve never dealt with this many characters before and I’ve never tried to write genre before and it was hard.


Peter Mares: Why?


Jincy Willett: In the first place you have to have more characters. In my last novel I only had to have a handful. I had to actually have 13 characters, it was hell. Plus it’s plot driven. I mean, I could noodle around as much as possible talking about writing theory and how to make paragraphs snappier, but you know that your readers want to know who’s going to die and what’s going to happen next. I’ve never written anything so plot driven before. Usually I focus more on character and ideas, I guess.


Peter Mares: So you make a rod for your own back, as it were, by having a plot driven novel like this because, as you say…and reading it myself, yes, you want to get through the novel…not that you’re not enjoying reading it but you want to know what’s going to happen, who is the murderer, because you’re trying to guess for yourself, of course, as a reader.


Jincy Willett: Yes, sure, and it’s very mechanical really. I learned how to throw out red herrings, and yet I felt kind of guilty about doing that; why would I want to do that to my readers? And yet that’s the contract that you have with the reader when you’re writing a mystery. You can’t come right out and say, ‘Want to know who did it? It was so-and-so. Now let’s keep going’. So you have to misdirect them, and that felt odd.


Peter Mares: We as readers are looking for those red herrings as well, we’re expecting them. As you say, that’s part of the contract.


Jincy Willett: Right. Did it work for you?


Peter Mares: It did.


Jincy Willett: Did you guess?


Peter Mares: No, I didn’t guess…well, not until towards the end, and we’ll leave the listeners guessing of course. But it wasn’t obvious at all, no, I didn’t find it was obvious who the murderer was in the end. But what about…you’ve also added the comic element, the dark humour into this, and that must also create a difficult balance because you don’t want the humour to overwhelm the mystery or visa versa, and you also want to maintain that sympathy we talked about earlier with Amy and her existential pain.


Jincy Willett: Right, but just because you’re in a lot of pain doesn’t mean the world isn’t a slapstick and often hilarious place. I never try to be funny…in fact I’ve now been categorised as a funny writer, so that when I first finished this my publisher asked me to make it a little funnier. Apparently I’m just going to have to be funny. But I think I am naturally because that’s the way I see the universe, but in the past I’ve done a lot of funny/sad combinations, or funny/terrible. This time I was going for funny/scary. I don’t know whether I made it or whether it was just funny/sad.


Peter Mares: There are some scary scenes when Amy is alone in her house and getting threatening phone calls and so on.


Jincy Willett: I don’t feel ever like I have to try to be amusing because I just think the world is just…as long as it doesn’t actually kick you to the ground, you can’t help laughing at what happens. It’s just a ridiculous place, it’s a slapstick universe.


Peter Mares: I guess it’s not surprising that the Australian edition of your book has endorsements and comments on your writing by both David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs who I think probably have a similar approach in their view of the world.


Jincy Willett: Right, I guess we all see it that way. It’s not a terrible message though, the fact that it’s slapstick. Slapstick frequently isn’t funny, sometimes it’s just awful, but quite often it is funny.


Peter Mares: And there’s an irony too that these murders actually have a kind of healing effect on Amy, this reclusive character who doesn’t leave the house except to walk her flatulent dog. The murders add some excitement to her life and force her actually to engage with other people for the first time in a long time.


Jincy Willett: Yes, she gets basically dragged out in the world just a little bit, and there are really two stories; one is the mystery, and then there’s the larger story of a sort of glacial movement of this rather glacial woman from a total standstill to at the end being a little bit more out in the world, a little bit more connected, and that’s a good thing.


Peter Mares: Jincy Willett, thank you for joining me on The Book Show.


Jincy Willett: Thank you.


Peter Mares: Jincy Willett is the author of The Writing Class: A Novel, published in Australia by Scribe. And her other works include Winner of the National Book Award and Jenny and the Jaws of Life which have both, as I mentioned, won buckets of praise from respectively Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris, fellow purveyors of darkly comic literature.



(and note that this radio network actually broadcasts a daily Book Show, to which you may listen for free, on podcast)