Author of the week
Jami Attenberg would make an interesting life coach, said Dylan Foley in LitHub.com. In 2010, the suburban Chicago native refused to get sensible when her publisher dropped her after a third novel that earned fine reviews but few sales. Not that the 38-year-old didn’t have doubts. “I thought, ‘Oh, man, I have to go get a real job,’” she says. Instead, she doubled down, sleeping on friends’ couches and sinking deep into credit card debt as she labored on her next novel. That book, 2012’s The Middlesteins, became an instant hit, a best-seller soon sold in 10 countries. Success jolted Attenberg. “I didn’t really know how bad my career was until it became good,” she says. And yet she’s still not ready to follow a conventional path.
She has that in common with the narrator of her new novel, All Grown Up. “She’s not me,” Attenberg says. But like circa-2010 Attenberg, Andrea Bern is a single woman in Brooklyn who’s approaching 40 and still interested in her art, not security, and in men, not marriage. And because Attenberg intentionally wanted to break with storytelling custom, there’s no special romance at the tale’s end, even in an offhand coda. “That’s the thing that annoys the hell out of me, where they sneak that in,” she says. Attenberg has recently made one concession to convention: buying a small house in New Orleans, said Julia Feisenthal in Vogue.com. Of course, New Orleans doesn’t exactly encourage settling down. “When I’m 60, I’m probably going to be doing Jell-O shots,” Attenberg says. “I want to keep having fun.”