Monday, March 25, 2013


The Kirkus review is here. Official publication at twelve midnight, at which point you can get it here (for Kindle or for "real"). It probably won't be stocked in most bookstores, but your local store should be willing to order a copy for you if you prefer to get books that way, and here's a Powell's link for another option.

I am in Cayman till Thursday, and still haven't seen finished copies of the book (I think a box is waiting for me in New York), so it all seems slightly unreal. Will hope to see some of you at Book Culture a week from tomorrow. I've been writing bits and bobs for various guest blog posts and so forth, and I was looking back through old Light Reading posts (= external hard drive of the brain) for when I first read Julius Chambers' journalistic expose of abuses at the Bloomingdale Asylum.

That took me down the rabbit hole: I read back through all of the posts with the tag THE BACCHAE ON MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS.

I started serious reading and research for the book in July 2010, which was a difficult month for other reasons; I started drafting it in December 2010; I had a full draft a couple months later (and also little cat Mickey, a happy addition to the Morningside Heights household), but I had to wait until the summer before I had enough time to pull it all together.

The provisionally final version I had in August 2011 (I accepted an offer from a publisher near the end of the calendar year) underwent significant subsequent revision right down to submission of the final version in July 2012, including a frenetic eleventh-hour rewrite of the final section from third-person to first-person voice. The story is basically one of regular bronchial ailments and brutal insomnia punctuated by the production of quota and a series of revisions that are always optimistically conceived and undertaken but that turn out not to have solved fundamental problems with the manuscript.

Writing a novel is not easy, I am happy with how this one came out but I think it will be wise if I don't write one again for quite a while!

(On the other hand, though, the intellectual excitement of the research and the thinking and the discovery of how things will really fit together properly is unbeatable, there's nothing else like it. I think that despite my resolution not to, I am pretty much stuck on writing another novel one of these days - but it will be good if it's a couple years before the next really compelling idea strikes, zombie apocalypse premise notwithstanding....)


  1. Congratualtions indeed! A good review, and I'm looking forward trmendously to reading The Magic Circle.

  2. Congratulations Jenny! I'm looking forward to it!