An interview on line with Braddock Avenue Books
01/02/2013“Prosperous Friends” makes the love triangle passé geometry. Instead, Schutt arranges her characters in a hexagon of erotic codependency and longing: handsome Ned, a struggling fiction writer shoved toward memoir; his pretty wife, Isabel, capable only of caring for strays; Clive, the distinguished Maine painter Isabel sits for, who renders her into a canapé while his own wife looks on; Clive’s ill and inconvenient adult daughter. This book will unravel all you’ve stitched together about how to tell a story. It will rip down the middle the tidy seam where we fasten doing well to doing good.
David Winters on Prosperous Friends
Difficult Intimacies: Christine Schutt’s Dark Portraits of Marriage
PICK UP A BOOK by Christine Schutt, and you’ll be struck straight away by her style. In two short story collections and three novels, she’s honed a language that feels wholly hers: a carefully cadenced poetic prose that warrants being read reverently, aloud. I’ll say it right now: I believe Prosperous Friends proves Schutt to be one of the finest stylists alive. Praised by the likes of Lydia Davis and John Ashbery, Schutt has been called a “writer’s writer.” Yet if her style is “writerly,” it’s not estrangingly so. She doesn’t indulge in insular word games, fashioned for a refined few. What she does instead is draw out a secret world of love and suffering, which, once it is revealed to us, we recognize as our own ... read more at lareviewofbooks.org
A Year in Reading on The Millions
Antonio Munoz Molina, Sepharad
Tinge Magazine Interview
Author Christine Schutt has been a National Book Award finalist (for her novel "Florida") and a Pulitzer Prize finalist (for her novel "All Souls"), yet she is still best described as a "writer's writer's writer": a creator of exquisite sentences, admired by other writers, and not read nearly enough by everyone else.
Her latest novel, "Prosperous Friends," deserves a wide readership.
"Prosperous Friends" explores tough terrain with no edifying conclusions. Yet it is gorgeously written, and full of sharp insights into love, aging, sex and ambition. The characters, despite themselves, prove sympathetic."
Read more at sfchronicle.com
Michael Silverblatt interviews Christine on Thursday, December 6 on KCRW. If you missed it, don't worry. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.
Book Bramin: Christine Schutt
On your nightstand now:
Antonio Munoz Molina's Sepharad, recommended to me by Mark Strand, a deeply affecting novel about nothing.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Margaret Flack's The Story About Ping, about a domesticated Chinese duck lost on the Yangtze River. Spanking as a punishment terrified me then, as did the perils that befall Ping in avoiding this punishment.
Read the full interview at Shelf-Awareness
Book World: It’s unhappily ever after in Christine Schutt’s ‘Prosperous Friends’
“ ‘Are you sure?’ the doctor asked.
“She did all the unsightly crying things, and both men watched. She used the sleeve of her yellowed nightgown on her face.
“ ‘You’re in agreement?’ the doctor asked.
“ ‘Yes,’ and they said yes at the same time, so Ned and Isabel must have been in agreement.”
Schutt deals killing blows with such short, precise movements that at first you barely register the wound. Her portrayal of sexual dysfunction manages to be just as cringe-inducing as it is oblique.
Read more at washingtonpost.com.
“Ms. Schutt has a stark, scientific eye and an artist’s voice.”
In Prosperous Friends, Christine Schutt’s crafting of three parts minimalism and one part stream-of-consciousness with rigorous lyricism of voice results in not so much a love story as a dissection of the possibility of love.
"Ms. Schutt has a stark, scientific eye and an artist's voice."
Reviewed by Rae Bryant. Read the full review at nyjournalofbooks.com
“A…disposition to illuminate peaks of cognizance amid humdrum circumstance invests Schutt’s latest novel, Prosperous Friends, with an almost electric charge… Like James, Schutt penetrates to the core energies of human drama with a pointillist’s touch; feeling is lent graceful shape, less readily apprehensible, but ultimately more incisive. …Prosperous Friends presses adventurously against mere telling’s quotidian restrictions and attempts to enact “the lyrical impulses of the soul.””
-Bookforum, Albert Mobilio
Schutt applied the Page 69 Test to her newest novel, Prosperous Friends, and this is what she found:
"What I had hoped to find on page sixty-nine of Prosperous Friends was a recurring note in the novel’s song about love and marriage and ambition, and here it was then: together on a first date, Clive Harris and Isabel Bourne, met at a wedding a year before where Clive first kissed her. Here is part of the melody: the easy, unwise seduction of an uncertain woman by a practiced, dangerous man."
Read more at page69test.blogspot.com
The language of Christine Schutt’s latest novel is jarring to those accustomed to journalistic prose, but the relationship between Ned Bourne and his wife Isabel rings uncomfortably familiar. Their lives resemble the space after the unfinished dialogue and they aren’t sure if the lack is in themselves or in each other. Joyce and Fitzgerald enthusiasts will savor this capsule of modern-day ennui.
Read more at dcspotlight.com.
Marie Claire, California Literary Review, Sirius Radio "Book Talk" all recently reviewed Prosperous Friends. Click below to see what they wrote:
Marie Claire / review / Oct 25
California Literary Review / review / Nov 5
Sirius XM Martha Stewart Radio “Book Talk” / interview / Nov 1
Sam Sacks in The Wall Street Journal on Prosperous Friends:
". . .Isabel's transformation stands out. Ms. Schutt depicts her rattled consciousness with quick, painterly strokes--a glancing, impressionistic style that owes a happy debt to Virginia Woolf. . .From the unpromising material of connubial misery, Ms. Schutt has formed genuine moments of beauty and hope." - Read the full review
Read the full review
“A small but powerful work of craftsmanship…Prosperous Friends is intimate and alien as a dream. Like poetry, it rewards careful reading, and though brief, the questions it raises linger, unanswerable and self-complicating… Prosperous Friends, like all of Ms. Schutt’s fictions, is an island ecosystem—a Madagascar, a Galapagos—evolved in isolation, where new and strange forms thrive; the results are marvelous and startling.” –New York
Readings and Events
James Merrill House Reading
Fri Jun 7, 2013 7pm
About Christine Schutt
Christine Schutt is the author of a short-story collections Nightwork and A Night, A Day, Another Night, Summer. The former was chosen by poet John Ashbery as the best book of 1996 for the Times Literary Supplement. Her first novel Florida was a National Book Award finalist for fiction in 2004. Her second novel All Souls was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist in 2009. Her new novel Prosperous Friends is out now from Grove Press.
If you would like to request an appearance or schedule a reading, please email Christine with the pertinent details .. email Christine