Kerri Maher on How a Paris Bookseller Changed the Course of Literature
In Conversation with Mitchell Kaplan on The Literary Life Podcast
On today’s episode of The Literary Life, Mitchell Kaplan talks to Kerri Maher about her latest novel, The Paris Bookseller, out now from Berkley Books.
From the episode:
Kerri Maher: I feel like there’s this really interesting and sometimes difficult, but ultimately productive, tension in a historical novel, in particular, a biographical novel like this one, which is about a woman who really walked on planet Earth.
On the one hand, I want to do right by Sylvia Beach because she really she really did live this amazing life. And so, we do a lot of research to make sure that we have her voice and I have her voice in my ear and, you know, the other characters like James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. But at the same time, I’m holding this other reality in my mind, which is that it is a novel. It is necessarily an interpretation of Sylvia’s life, of Joyce’s life, of Hemingway’s life. And so, you know, I feel like I have to really embrace that tension and the truth that I’m interpreting. My James Joyce and Sylvia Beach would be different from yours, if you were to write the same novel.
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Kerri Maher is the author of The Girl in White Gloves, The Kennedy Debutante, and, under the name Kerri Majors, This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and was a writing professor for many years. She now writes full-time and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts.