As a lauded novelist and short story/essay writer, Rachel knows her prose. Which may be why she’s able, here, to make so very little prose so very engaging and interesting.
MCC: What are you working on these days?
Rachel: A novel set in 17th Century London. It’s tremendous fun doing the research — though I often feel this book is as much work as two regular novels.
MCC: What writer do you most admire but write nothing like?
Rachel: Joseph Heller. By the time you’ve read two pages of Catch-22, you understand that nothing will be sacred. The book is an absolutely wild ride.
MCC: Do you secretly dream of being a) a pop icon, b) an algebra teacher, and/or c) a crime-solver/writer a la Jessica Fletcher?
Rachel: d) a gospel singer. Or — barring that — I want to push people’s cars out of the snow for a living. It only takes a few minutes, and the fruits of the labor are immediately visible. The opposite of life as a novelist.
MCC: How many revisions does your work typically go through?
Rachel: Dozens. I’ve come to look forward to the revision-stage. A first draft is fun, but it’s also nerve-wracking, because I’m anxious to get everything down on paper. Revision is the fun part–that’s where I get to tinker, understand the characters more deeply, and try to make things as good as they can be.
Rachel joins Michael Downing, Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, and Joan Wickersham for a reading at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Tuesday, February 10, 7 PM. Event co-sponsored by AGNI Magazine. Read about all of the events in the Commonwealth Reading Series.
Rachel Kadish is the author of the novels From a Sealed Room (Putnam, 1998) and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Her work has been read on NPR and has appeared in publications such as Zoetrope, Tin House, and The Gettysburg Review, in the Pushcart Prize anthology and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MacDowell, and Yaddo, and has been the Koret writer-in-residence at Stanford University. She teaches creative writing in Lesleys M.F.A. program in Creative Writing and is currently a Visiting Research Associate at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center.