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M.T. Anderson and Julia Glass in Conversation
About Landscape With Invisible Hand:
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.
When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth — but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents’ jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv’s miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem "classic" Earth culture (doo-wop music, still-life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it’s hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he’s willing to go — and what he’s willing to sacrifice — to give the vuvv what they want.
In Julia Glass's fifth book since her acclaimed novel Three Junes won the National Book Award, she gives us the story of an unusual bond between a world-famous writer and his assistant—a richly plotted novel of friendship and love, artistic ambition, the perils of celebrity, and the power of an unexpected legacy.
When the revered children's book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was twelve and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty's last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.
When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty's past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss—and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene—and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands—will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.
About the Authors:
M. T. Anderson is the author of Feed, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; the National Book Award–winning The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party and its sequel, The Kingdom on the Waves, both New York Times bestsellers and Michael L. Printz Honor Books; Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad;and many other books for children and young adults. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts.
Julia Glass is the author of five previous books of fiction: the best-selling Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award; I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories that won the Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award; as well as the novels And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, and The Whole World Over. Other published works include the Kindle Single Chairs in the Rafters, essays in several anthologies, and, most recently, two poems in The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks.
Glass grew up outside Boston and attended Yale College, where she earned a B.A. as a Scholar of the House in studio art. After a yearlong fellowship to paint and travel in Europe, she settled in Brooklyn in the 1980s, pursuing a career as a visual artist. In her early thirties, however, she began to write fiction for the first time since high school, supporting herself as a copy editor, a proofreader, and a magazine journalist specializing in pets and parenting. Her first published writing was a bimonthly column in Glamour magazine called “Animal Love.” Not long after, her short story “My Sister’s Scar” won a Nelson Algren Award and was published in the Chicago Tribune. She went on to win fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2005, after 24 years of living in New York City, she moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts, where she now lives with her family and their two Cardigan corgis. She is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.