Tag Archives: novels

Fact-Based Fictions

My first fact-based novel began one day when a voice started forming paragraphs in my head and I realized who was speaking: the juicy wife of an author on whom I had worked, a lot. I do not customarily hear voices—not at all—but the novelists I teach say that characters speak to them. I’d never believed it, exactly. Now it was happening to me.

I wrote my first novel in a dream, revising it over several years—adding a second narrator and then deleting her and following an agent’s and editor’s suggestions until the book, while still magical for me, had changed. My heroine lost a lover, or two, or even three; always strong, she smoothed some of her rough edges. In short, fiction prevailed over fact—as it should. I loved, loved, loved working on this book, for which I will use here not the actual title but one that will serve: WIVES AND LOVERS.

My second literary novel used third person rather than first and that scared me at first; I couldn’t depend on a voice speaking to me, almost speaking through me. But I found that I enjoyed the greater freedom third person allows and soon found that multiple voices emerged organically, sometimes via third person subjective. I’m still revising this book, but almost done, and will announce quite soon novel number two!

I’ve always loved history-based fiction, novels that fill in the blanks and make the past live. Now I have written two of my own. Hilary Mantel’s WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES got me thinking about publishing my work and then I learned that Hilary Mantel was not always Hilary Mantel: that she had done other things before these wonderful books, just as I have had a career writing what people call “acclaimed” non-fiction, like GONE PRIMITIVE. LOVING FRANK, THE PARIS WIFE, VANESSA AND HER SISTER reach, I believe, both the literati, and others. I hope people find my books fun, but also smart.

My regular blog-site switches to mariannatorgovnick.tumblr.com. I’ll blog there occasionally but find that social media keep us all fairly busy. I’m on Facebook as Marianna Torgovnick; on Twitter as Marianna_tor, with the Twitter feed appearing to the right. The site you’re viewing remains a place to learn more about me and my work.

Blazing Theatrical Comets

I went as a fan of War and Peace but emerged with a new understanding of NY theater now.  Over and again in recent years, I’ve had to say that what’s on Broadway is thin and to recommend this-little-show-in-an-”unusual”-space: Sleep No More in the Mc Kittrick Hotel, These Seven Sicknesses at the Flea, and now Pierre, Natasha, and the Great Comet of 1812.

Theatre is happening everywhere in the city and, perhaps most vibrantly, in said little out-of-the-way theaters. There is so much talent in NY that it cannot squeeze anymore into the expensive, years-consuming, investor-courting space that is Broadway.  The kind of revitalization of theater that has happened from time to time in NYC and elsewhere is happening now.

What you’re hearing in my post is not the usual Broadway is dead complaint:  it’s not dead and a lot of great things play in the not-for-profit and smaller houses near 42nd Street as well as, from time to time, in the larger traditional Broadway houses. But the scene is once again a scene, with small, unconventional spaces (or larger ones like the Mc Kittrick).

Actors mixing with the audience and improvising scenery and action, sometimes by co-opting the audience’s space. Pop rhythms infusing old forms, like Tolstoy’s 19th-century novel and high opera. Energy everywhere. Talent bursting at the seams—so much that it seems able to fill the stage for decades.  Do you hear excitement?  I am feeling it.