The Novelist, by L.L. Barkat, explores themes of writer’s block and self-esteem in the writer. Readers familiar with the Adrienne Rich volume The Dream of a Common Language will recognize subtle images of ice and water; of things lost or trashed; of earth, clay and fire.
“Laser-like reflection, ” says one reviewer about The Novelist, thus capturing a defining element of Rich’s own poetry and ideas; Barkat, however, argues through a gentle cloak of storytelling woven with poetry.
In addition to Barkat’s gorgeous poetry woven throughout, the climax of the book hinges on readings from Adrienne Rich, whose words powerfully turn the main character when she can’t turn herself.
This accessible book, with a witty surface, has readers coming back for more, reading the book multiple times, to uncover layers of meaning about the writing process and the complexities of the literary world.
Follow the main character, Laura—a copywriter and poet—as she tries to figure out how the hell to write a novel to meet Megan Willow’s challenge—a book by September.
Megan has a thriving tea business and does everything in a big way. To her, the idea of writing a novel in a matter of months is beyond simple. All you need is the will, and you’ll find the way.
Confused by romantic love and her place in the world of writing, Laura delves into her past, as she tries to bring a novel into the present. To tutor her efforts, she culls wisdom and hope not only from Adrienne Rich, but also from greats such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Mary Shelley, and medieval story-weaver Murasaki (whose real name has been lost to history, because she was a woman).
Can Laura write a novel by September? She might not even make a cup of tea by midnight. So who’s to say.
“One of those rare books you’ll finish but leave on the nightstand, ” notes Darrelyn Saloom, co-author of My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of A Girl Who Yearns to Box.
“Barkat is a damn fine writer, ” adds former Herald de Paris editor and San Francisco Book Review Contributor Hubert O’Hearn.
T. S. Poetry Press, publisher of The Novelist and the Oprah Summer Read The Whipping Club, has developed a reputation for the “rare book”; most of its titles have been finalists for recognitions like the Indie Booksellers award or have been named among Best Books of the Year for 2010, 2011, and 2012.