Tag Archives: novels

Famous Men’s Wives: My New Fact-Based Fiction

My new fact-based novel about a famous man’s wife 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. Now I do not customarily hear voices but had heard the novelists I teach say their characters speak to them all the time. I’d never believed them, exactly. Now it was happening to me.

I wrote this novel in a dream, revising it over several years and adding a second narrator. I have loved, loved, loved working on this book, for which I will use here not the actual title but one that will serve for now: HUSBANDS AND DAUGHTERS.

History-based fiction, filling in the blanks and making the past live for us. Hilary Mantel got me thinking about that with WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES and then I learned that Hilary Mantel was not always Hilary Mantel: that she had done other things before these wonderful books. And then there was THE PARIS WIFE, another book for the literati and others.

The last two posts announce new books I expect to be available soon: PICNIC IN THR DARK: CLASSIC BOOKS AT A TIME OF WAR AND LOSS, the subject of the next blog, and my fact-based imagined life of a famous man’s wife.

My regular blog-site switches to mariannatorgovnick.tumblr.com. I was missing the social media side. But the site you’re viewing remains the place to learn more about me and my work. Look for some announcements soon.

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.