Laura van den Berg’s second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth, will be remembered as the one that catapulted her from indie-press steerage to first-class cruising with contemporaries Karen Russell, Josh Weil, Alissa Nutting, and Adele Waldman. Not that her first collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was overlooked; it was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. The Florida-born van den Berg, who spent several years teaching in Baltimore before moving to Boston with novelist and husband Paul Yoon earlier this year, is returning to the Charm City to read from Isle with novelist Katharine Noel on January 7th. Jen Michalski, host of Starts Here! (the new Ivy Bookshop reading series held at Artifact Coffee), interviewed van den Berg about the rather-human islands that populate her work.–van den Berg reads with Katharine Noel at the Artifact Coffee, Tuesday, January 7th at 7 p.m.–visit the Ivy Bookshop’s website for more information.
Tag: Laura Van den Berg
The Baltimore Lit Parade for October: Three Troubled Policemen, “13 Girls,” and van den Berg’s Scary-Good Book Deal
Much as we tend to play up our Hon Blievers, Book Things, and park-laden, neurosis-free psyche, few towns teem with morbid curiosity quite like Charm City. From Mr. Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade up through David Simon’s “The Wire” cast and The Sun’s exquisite police blotter, Baltimore has long produced fictive body exhumers and, perhaps more, an audience smitten with the dusty, matchlit corners of criminal activity. White flight, abandoned neighborhoods, and a lately discarded status as America’s murder capital underpin residents’ understanding of home; unsurprisingly, a rabid local market exists for true crime and its clinical, fact-bearing explication. Building on its author’s near-decade in the local police department, Michael A. Wood, Jr.’s Eliot (self-published) honors that curiosity, hitting very Baltimorean forensic notes even as it serves up a shaggy genre thriller.