Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Russia With Love

ERIC FORBES caught up with novelist OLGA GRUSHIN to talk about her life as a writer and her two critically acclaimed novels, The Dream Life of Sukhanov and The Line


OLGA GRUSHIN is the author of the novels, The Dream Life of Sukhanov and The Line (published as The Concert Ticket in the UK), as well as stories, literary criticism, essays and other works. Born in Moscow in 1971, the daughter of the prominent Soviet sociologist Boris Grushin, she spent a large part of her childhood in Prague. After returning to Moscow, she studied art history at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and journalism at the Moscow State University.

Fairy-tale childhood
Grushin’s father was a sociologist who pioneered public opinion research in the Soviet Union, and who, as a result, often got into trouble with the authorities. In the mid-1970s, when she was four, Boris Grushin proposed a revolutionary sociological approach and witnessed a full-scale attack mounted against him in the press. Branded “anti-Marxist,” he lost his job and was virtually blacklisted, until an influential friend offered him a position at a magazine in Prague where they lived for five years. “Prague was magical, and I had a fairy-tale childhood,” Grushin says. “When we returned to Moscow in 1981, everything seemed grim and oppressive, the winters went on and on, and I had trouble adjusting; yet soon enough perestroika began, and Moscow became a thrilling place to live, especially for a teenager who dreamed of being a writer.”

Growing up in Moscow, she read many classics in translation: A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, Tove Jansson’s Moomin books, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. After moving to Prague, she discovered a local library overflowing with books she had never heard of in Russia. She brought piles of them home, devoured them greedily, and went back for more. Later, when she was ten or eleven, she began to read everything she could find on her parents’ bookshelves in Moscow: Poe, Twain, Dumas, James Fennimore Cooper, Verne, Kipling, Stevenson, and so on. She tackled the Russian classics at thirteen or fourteen, devouring everything by Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, and a year or two later she discovered the Russian poets—Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nikolai Gumilev and Osip Mandelstam.

Going to America
In 1989, she was awarded a full scholarship to study at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and became the first Russian citizen to enroll in and complete a four-year American college program, graduating summa cum laude in 1993. “When I arrived, I was met with a lot of media attention; for the first few weeks I felt a bit like a deer in the headlights. Just off the plane, I was asked about dating American boys, and on campus, I was followed around by a TV crew who filmed staged excursions to the shops, trips to the bank, and meals featuring gigantic, towering hamburgers that I didn’t know how to eat.” However, once the media interest faded, she happily threw herself into American life. “I wanted to learn about everything, experience everything, cram as many things as possible into my days—American football games, modern dance lessons, horseback riding, soap operas, fraternity parties, church services, book clubs—everything seemed so terribly exotic.”

After returning to Moscow, she studied art history at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and journalism at the Moscow State University.

Growing up in a family of journalists and writers, it was almost as if Grushin, who now lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband and children, never had a choice in the matter of career. She started writing her first stories when she was four or five and hasn’t stopped. In her early youth she devoured the biographies of Russian poets and writers whose lives were full of adventure, drama and historical upheavals, with prison terms, wars, grand passions and a duel or two along the way. “At fifteen, I imagined that any proper writer’s life should proceed along similar lines. Was I in for an awakening!”

Daily writing routine
She usually starts her day by going over the pages she wrote the day before, editing the old text until it segues into the new. “Ordinarily I write for a stretch of four or five hours; when I feel my sentences becoming forced, I stop.” Whether she’s working on a novel or a story, she knows exactly where she’s going: “I make outlines and take extensive notes beforehand, and I like to be organised and conscious about my character development and scene settings.” But on her best days, she often has a sense of going deeper and deeper into some place that has nothing to do with outlines and preconceived plots—and her favourite moments are much like dreaming, when the writing seems to flow on its own accord and scenes change in mid-sentence and her characters say or do things she didn’t know they would say or do. “Afterwards, these always seem to be the best parts of the book.”

English versus Russian
Writing in English, she says, is a world of difference from writing in her mother tongue. “The languages are so different that my style in English is inevitably different from my style in Russian, just as my thinking is different in each language: each comes with its own intellectual and emotional vocabulary.” Russian is the more emotional and lyrical of the two, and English, while somewhat drier, has a richer vocabulary and, therefore, the capacity for profound nuances and precision. “English is now my official writing language while Russian is my private language, reserved for my diary and letters to my family.” But she does try to imbue the English of her fiction with a Russian sensibility: since her novels are set in Russia, she has attempted to retain Russian cadences in her sentences and use Russian turns of phrase.

Getting published
She approached the business of getting her first novel published in a methodical fashion—though she was lucky along the way. “I started by purchasing a slim little book, How to Break into Print—the best $10 I’ve ever spent in my life: among other things, it taught me to double-space my manuscript.” Armed with that knowledge, she wrote and published a handful of stories. “I knew absolutely no one in the business, but I thought that a few credits in literary magazines might eventually help me find an agent.” Once she completed her novel, she combed through the acknowledgement pages of the books she liked best, drew up a list of literary agents, and sent out query letters. Warren Frazier responded to her query within a day: “I sent him the manuscript via email; he called me the next morning. We were lucky with finding a publisher, too: Marian Wood of Putnam loved the book and bought it within a week or two of receiving the manuscript.”

First novel
The Dream Life of Sukhanov is the story of a brilliant artist in Soviet Russia who chooses to give up his dangerous art and settles for a life of material comfort and moral ambiguity, until decades later, in 1985, his betrayed gift starts to haunt him and his perfectly arranged, successful life starts to unravel. “Central to the book are the themes of our dreams and our choices, the role of art and the role of family in shaping our lives. Sukhanov was not based on anyone I knew, but in many ways he was formed by my experiences of growing up in Russia, listening to my parents and their friends—people of Sukhanov’s generation, many of them artists, philosophers and writers, all of whom had to struggle with their own difficult choices.”

Some, like her father and the artist Ernest Neizvestny, a close family friend, followed their beliefs and suffered the consequences. (Neizvestny, one of the artists exhibited at the infamous Manège show in 1962, stood up to Khrushchev in a celebrated confrontation and was eventually forced to emigrate to the US.) Others bargained with the authorities and enjoyed certain rewards, but always at a price. The questions of artistic courage and betrayal, daily comfort and immortality were very real concerns from her earliest years, and Sukhanov was the result of her thinking about these questions for a long time.

For a while she also debated between making him an artist or a writer, but an artist seemed the more interesting choice: “For one thing, I wanted to imagine someone more remote from myself; for another, I liked the challenge of writing a very visual novel: everything in the novel is seen through Sukhanov’s eyes, through the eyes of an artist of genius who has ignored his talent for years, yet who cannot help but perceive reality as an artist would, in vivid colours, with striking images, even with scattered, hidden references to actual masterpieces throughout.” And the surrealism motif, which passes through the novel, ties in perfectly with her exploration of madness brought on by the denial of one’s true nature.

Soviet history
Her first novel spans some fifty years of Soviet history, from 1929—the year of Sukhanov’s birth—to 1985, when the novel takes place. “It is not strictly speaking a historical novel, but it does touch on quite a few momentous events, from Stalin’s repressions and the Great Patriotic War to Khrushchev’s Thaw and the beginning of perestroika, and there is a famous historical episode at the heart of the book—the Manège incident of 1962, when Khrushchev visited an art show in Moscow and lashed out against a group of abstract and expressionist artists exhibited there, telling them that their art was good only for covering urinals and threatening them with Siberia.”

With such a backdrop, one would expect loads of research. However, she did not do much research since most of the material was familiar to her—she had lived through the early years of perestroika, studied art and art history, and grown up listening to her parents’ stories—but she did read memoirs of unofficial Russian artists of the times and various accounts of the Manège exhibition to get the overall mood right. “I wanted to avoid cluttering the book with historical details, however: I tried to lend it a more universal feel, so that people not at all familiar with Soviet history might find the story appealing as well, and with a hope that it might retain its resonance years from now.”

Second novel
Grushin’s second novel, The Line, also published as The Concert Ticket, was inspired by a real historical event. In 1962, the celebrated Russian composer Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was invited to visit Russia after nearly fifty years of exile to perform his music at a Leningrad concert hall. When people learned about it, they lined up for tickets, and the line lasted an entire year, evolving over time into a unique and complex social system, with people working together and taking turns standing in line. The story of the year-long waiting in line struck her as incredibly powerful, but it took her only a day or two of research to realise that she would not be using the actual event at all, as it developed in ways different from the direction she intended to go with the book.

She did, however, listen to a lot of Stravinsky and read accounts of the Ballets Russes, a Russian ballet company that was a sensation in Paris in the years before the Revolution, which inspired another development in her novel. “That said, The Line required no research per se, and is very far from being a historical novel: it takes place in the unnamed capital of an unnamed country and its temporal setting is an amalgamation: I borrow liberally from three different periods of Soviet history, namely, the repression of Stalin’s 1930s, the hopefulness of Khrushchev’s Thaw (late 1950s to early 1960s) and the stagnation of Brezhnev’s 1970s.” She imagined the book not so much as a story set in Soviet Russia but rather as a Russian dreamscape of sorts—a meditation on hope, history and time.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

If Truth Be Known

SHANTINI SUNTHARAJAH chats with novelist DEBORAH HENRY about her heart-wrenching first novel, The Whipping Club, a story about secrets and lies, love and redemption, joy and triumph


PASSION, PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE. First-time author Deborah Henry possesses plenty of these traits. Her début novel, The Whipping Club (T.S. Poetry Press), which has earned praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler (A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) and Jacquelyn Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean), explores territory that far more experienced novelists would hesitate to tread: destructive family secrets, the complex, sometimes heart-wrenching search for personal identity and the cruel, mindless prejudice and misery surrounding child abuse.

Crossing the racial chasm
Set against the political backdrop of 1950s and ’60s Dublin, The Whipping Club follows the journey of Marian McKeever, a young Catholic schoolteacher who falls in love with Ben Ellis, a Jewish journalist. Against all odds, the couple plans to cross the racial chasm between them and get married.

Marian then discovers she is pregnant and keeps it a secret. She gives up her baby believing that she is protecting her future with Ben and that a good life awaits her infant son in America. A decade later, Marian, now married to Ben and mother to their 10-year-old daughter, discovers that her son is not living in America. Instead, he has been institutionalised in a notorious Irish Catholic orphanage under conditions so horrific, his very survival is at stake.

Bumps in the road
Henry dives headlong into these deep, often dark issues with the consummate skill and finesse of a seasoned writer, so it comes as a surprise when she admits there were more than a few bumps in the road. “There were layers of difficulty from the beginning. The novel takes place in a foreign country I was unfamiliar with at the time,” she explains. “I spent almost two years reading about Jewish roots in Ireland, anti-Semitism and Irish adoptions, to name a few of the major topics, as well as listening to audio books read by Irish authors to hear the lilt in their voices as I learned from their novels about the craft of writing. I also studied Irish dictionaries and slang.”

Henry was inspired to write about these complicated issues because of her personal family history. Even though she endured none of the horrors experienced by the characters in her book, Henry was intensely fascinated with the challenges faced by her first-generation Irish-Catholic mother and Jewish father. “Back in the 1950s my parents’ love affair was frowned upon. No one came to their wedding. I’ve always been curious about the duality of my Jewish-Irish heritage.”

The idea for The Whipping Club took hold when Henry began to contemplate mixed unions in Ireland during the time of her parents’ marriage. “When I began thinking about a fictitious child of a mixed marriage in Ireland, I learned that my parents’ relationship would never have been tolerated across the sea,” she says.

It was the first stirrings of an idea that would eventually turn into a full-length novel. “My budding story evolved into a manuscript with uncanny similarities to harsh events that took place in Irish orphanages. The more I researched, the more I uncovered a hidden Ireland, an island in which thousands of adults and children were forcibly separated, many of the ‘orphans’ adopted by American families and living with a vague sense of identity and a yearning for connection to their roots.”

Leaving no stone unturned
Henry diligently set about uncovering all she could about Ireland and left no stone unturned in her quest to immerse herself with the knowledge and subtleties that would allow her to write a multilayered, detailed account of the “dark ages” of the Emerald Isle. “I travelled to Ireland and there, I would study the smells in the air, the people, the sounds on the street—all the nuances of Dublin and the suburbs of Dublin where much of the book takes place,” she says. “Every trip also included interviews with survivors of orphanages, the industrial school systems, Mother Baby homes, as well as interviews with police officers, lawyers and members of the RTE [Ireland’s national radio and television broadcaster].”

Henry’s unwavering perseverance and passion is especially praiseworthy because she is not a writer by profession. “Before I became an author, I stumbled around New York City working in investment research firms and then met my first mentor, Arthur King Peters, a writer and French scholar who hired me as his research and editorial assistant during the production of his book, Jean Cocteau and His World.”

Motivated by working with her mentor, Henry began to seriously consider writing a novel and her transformation into an author began in earnest when she became a stay-at-home mother to her three children. “I loved this new position and took the task of motherhood the way one might look at a promotion,” she recalls. “Although I always kept a journal and wrote quite honestly sappy, sentimental poetry, I started writing in earnest when my children were infants, practising with a young adult novel, The Box of Letters, which I am now tweaking. As the children grew, I began my research for The Whipping Club.”

Intense research
It took half a decade of intense research and writing before Henry was happy with her book and carved out blocks of writing time despite having to juggle her responsibilities as a mother. “In the early years, I would drop my children at school and drive to a deserted field and write in my car until pick-up time,” she explains. “During the summers, I would get up at four-forty-five a.m. to write for a few hours before the first birds sang and before my children awoke.”

Henry even managed to find time to earn a degree in writing from Fairfield University, close to where she lives in Connecticut and discovered, much to her delight, that she had inadvertently found a whole network of supportive friends and colleagues. “I enrolled in the MFA program and met many fine colleagues and mentors who helped me understand and appreciate the journey to publication.”

Turning point
The experience turned out to be priceless. Henry remembers how she learned to understand the intricacies of developing a good story such as pacing, subplots, flow and rhythm and developed confidence through student readings. It was also during that summer that the central core of The Whipping Club dawned upon her. “It was a turning point in my writing life,” she says. “I thought about my own writing journey and asked myself: What is the one thing you couldn’t live without? What makes you cry? What outrages you? The answers materialised. For me, with this novel, at this stage in my life: to not be able to protect my children. That is what I am passionate about.”

Although Henry writes about tragedy, abuse and difficult choices in The Whipping Club, she admits that her own life story isn’t nearly as dramatic. “I grew up on Long Island in a wealthy, secular Jewish community. My parents divorced when I was fifteen and my mother remarried and moved to Manhattan. Though this may sound troublesome, to this day, I love my stepfather who played the piano with me, and like me, is a Francophile,” she says. “I had a lot of fun, for the most part, growing up. It was in many ways a typical high school experience. I still remain friends with kids I met in the second grade.”

Unsurprisingly, Henry’s childhood was filled with books and happy memories that revolved around reading. “I remember loving to read from my earliest years. After a warm bath, snuggled clean and cozy with my mother’s arm around me and my brother, we settled in for our ritual evening story hour. The lull of my mother’s voice ... made reading synonymous with bliss.”

Changing publishing landscape
Unlike many authors, Henry is unperturbed by the radical changes in the publishing industry and is philosophical and even positive about the advent of e-books. “We are often averse to change, but e-books are growing and changing the publishing landscape and they are here to stay. I believe that e-books will soar but I also believe that bookstores will remain. E-books and trade paperbacks and hardcovers—they are all good. E-books aid those who have difficulty with their eyesight to read again.” To her, it’s not about the medium but the content. “I think the important thing is the work. The delivery systems for books may shift and I am open to all the exciting publishing avenues but it is all about creating the best possible book and communicating with others.”

To make her point, Henry quotes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck: “In 1931, at the beginning of her classic novel, The Good Earth, she gives this note to her readers: I am always glad when any of my books can be put into an inexpensive edition, because I like to think that any people who might wish to read them can do so. Surely books ought to be within the reach of everybody. I couldn’t agree more.”


1. STAY OPEN-MINDED. Read, read, read. I read many great books on the writing life. For me, one of the best is Robert Olen Butler’s book on craft, From Where You Dream.
2. FIND THE SPACE AND TIME TO WRITE, whether early in the morning or very late at night, where the details of your family or work life cannot interfere with your writing life. You will find this very satisfying.
3. DISCIPLINE IS ALSO MANDATORY. Keep a steady routine, even when you think you are too tired to go on. I often find it funny when writers say they always keep their schedule unless they are physically ill. I will write even when I have the flu because you get to enjoy at least five or six hours when you separate from yourself, when you are in the flow and relieved of your symptoms for that period of time.
5. TAKE WALKS WITH A PAD AND PEN. Ideas often come during long drives, too. Keep pad and pen ready; even waterproof pads in the shower.
6. FINALLY, PERSEVERE THROUGH ALL THE REWRITES. Hone your skills. Develop your writing and marketing muscles. Eventually, the doors will open.

Reproduced from the October-December 2012 issue of Quill magazine

Sunday, July 01, 2012

July 2012 Highlights

1. Dare Me (Reagan Arthur Books, 2012) / Megan Abbott
2. A Trick I Learned from Dead Men (Jonathan Cape, 2012) / Kitty Aldridge
3. Lionel Asbo (Jonathan Cape, 2012) / Martin Amis
4. True Believers (Random House, 2012) / Kurt Andersen
5. After Such Kindness (Tindal Street Press, 2012) / Gaynor Arnold
6. Chapman’s Odyssey (Bloomsbury USA, 2012) / Paul Bailey
7. Ancient Light (Viking, 2012) / John Banville
8. The Yips (Fourth Estate, 2012) / Nicola Barker
9. The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre, 2012) / Ned Beauman
10. The Sandcastle Girls (Doubleday, 2012) / Chris Bohjalian

11. The Absolutist (Other Press, 2012) / John Boyner
12. A Million Heavens (McSweeney’s, 2012) / John Brandon
13. Hell or High Water (Thomas Dunne Books, 2012) / Joy Castro
14. Gold (Simon & Schuster, 2012) / Chris Cleave
15. The Purple Shroud (Virago, 2012) / Stella Duffy
16. The Silver Dark Sea (Fourth Estate, 2012) / Susan Fletcher
17. Broken Harbor (Viking/Hodder & Stoughton, 2012) / Tana French
18. Where We Belong (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) / Emily Giffin
19. The Big Music (Faber & Faber, 2012) / Kirsty Gunn
20. Shadow of Night (Viking, 2012) / Deborah Harkness

21. Long Time, No See (Viking, 2012) / Dermot Healy
22. Infrared (Black Cat/Grove Press, 2012) / Nancy Huston
23. The Uninvited (Bloomsbury UK, 2012) / Liz Jensen
24. Some Kind of Fairy Tale (Doubleday, 2012) / Graham Joyce
25. Come to the Edge (Quercus, 2012) / Joanna Kavenna
26. Say Nice Things About Detroit (W.W. Norton, 2012) / Scott Lasser
27. The Collective (W.W. Norton, 2012) / Don Lee
28. The Innocents (Avon/HarperCollins Publishers, 2012) / Laura Lippman
29. One Good Hustle (Random House Canada, 2012) / Billie Livingston
30. Gods and Beasts (Orion, 2012) / Denise Mina

31. The Summer House (Simon & Schuster, 2012) / Santa Montefiore
32. Buddhaland Brooklyn (Scribner, 2012) / Richard C. Morais
33. The Truth (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012) / Michael Palin
34. You & Me (published as You & I in the UK) (Ecco, 2012) / Padgett Powell
35. The Conductor (Head of Zeus, 2012) / Sarah Quigley
36. The Saint Zita Society (Hutchinson, 2012) / Ruth Rendell
37. Hawthorn & Child (Granta Books, 2012) / Keith Ridgway
38. Archipelago (Simon & Schuster, 2012) / Monique Roffey
39. The Prisoner of Heaven (Harper, 2012) / Carlos Ruiz Zafón
40. The Road to Urbino (Abacus, 2012) / Roma Tearne

41. Weirdo (Serpent’s Tail, 2012) / Cathi Unsworth
42. Beautiful Ruins (Harper/HarperCollins, 2012) / Jess Walter
43. Habits of the House (Head of Zeus, 2012) / Fay Weldon
44. How the Trouble Started (Faber & Faber, 2012) / Robert Williams

First Novels
1. The Red Chamber (Alfred A. Knopf/Virago Press, 2012) / Pauline A. Chen
2. Stony River (Penguin Canada, 2012) / Tricia Dower
3. If This Is Home (Picador, 2012) / Stuart Evers
4. The Beloved (Picador Australia, 2012) / Annah Faulkner
5. East of Denver (Dutton, 2012) / Gregory Hill
6. Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma (Chatto & Windus, 2012) / Kerry Hudson
7. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Hesperus Press, 2012) / Jonas Jonasson
8. All Woman and Springtime (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012) / Brandon W. Jones
9. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Random House, 2012) / Rachel Joyce
10. Mountains of the Moon (Viking, 2012) / I.J. Kay

11. Tigers in Red Weather (Little, Brown, 2012) / Liza Klaussmann
12. A Violet Season (Simon & Schuster, 2012) / Kathy Leonard Czepiel
13. Leaving the Atocha Station (Granta, 2012) / Ben Lerner
14. Shine Shine Shine (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) / Lydia Netzer
15. The Heat of the Sun (Atlantic Books, 2012) / David Rain
16. The Jump Artist (Viking, 2012) / Austin Ratner
17. In the Shadow of the Banyan (Simon & Schuster, 2012) / Vaddey Ratner
18. The Light Between Oceans (Scribner, 2012) / M.L. Stedman
19. Communion Town (Fourth Estate, 2012) / Sam Thompson
20. The Painted Bridge (Scribner, 2012) / Wendy Wallace

21. Juliet in August (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2012) / Dianne Warren

1. The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories of Jonathan Carroll (Subterranean, 2012) / Jonathan Carroll
2. Homesick (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) / Roshi Fernando
3. Enchantment: New and Selected Stories (Counterpoint, 2012) / Thaisa Frank
4. The Weight of a Human Heart (Old Street Publishing, 2012) / Ryan O’Neill
5. Loving You the Way I Do (Black Lawrence Press, 2012) / Ron Savage
6. Communion Town (Fourth Estate, 2012) / Sam Thompson
7. Sorry Please Thank You (Pantheon, 2012) / Charles Yu

1. The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein (Salt Publishing, 2012) / William Allegrezza (ed.)
2. Bee Journal (Jonathan Cape, 2012) / Sean Borodale
3. The World’s Two Smallest Humans (Faber & Faber, 2012) / Julia Copus
4. London: A History in Verse (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2012) / Mark Ford  (ed.)
5. The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett (Faber & Faber, 2012) / Samuel Beckett
6. Collected Poems (trans. from the Russian by Dmitri Nabokov) (Penguin Classics, 2012) / Vladimir Nabokov
7. Gravesend (University of California Press, 2012) / Cole Swensen

1. Walking Home: Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way (Faber & Faber, 2012) / Simon Armitage
2. Phantoms on the Bookshelves (Overlook, 2012) / Jacques Bonnet
3. Titian: His Life (HarperPress, 2012) / Sheila Hale
4. Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (Liveright Publishing, 2012) / Jim Holt
5. Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) / Keith Lowe
6. The Good Life: The Moral Individual in an Antimoral World (Bloomsbury UK, 2012) / Cheryl Mendelson
7. Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland (Granta, 2012) / Sarah Moss
8. Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River (Chatto & Windus, 2012) / Jeremy Seal
9. The Green Road Into the Trees: An Exploration of England (Preface Publishing, 2012) / Hugh Thomson
10. Raymond Chandler: A Mysterious Something in the Light: A New Biography (Aurum Press, 2012) / Tom Williams

11. When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) / Monica Wood