I had the good luck to be a participant in a workshop led by Donald Antrim back in the summer of 2004 at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. And it was luck, because he was a last-minute substitute for the writer who was supposed to lead the workshop. That week was wonderful for many reasons, from the participants to the beautiful backdrop of Cape Cod, but not least for the fact that he was a knowledgeable, insightful guide. The other participants had nothing but praise for him, and I was chagrined to admit that I hadn’t read any of his books. I’m even more embarrassed to say that, apart from a couple of short stories in the New Yorker (which were fantastic), I still haven’t.
So I said “Oh! Oh!” when I opened the e-mail I get every Sunday from the New Yok Times Book Review and saw that he has a new book out, a memoir about his late mother (you can read a chapter excerpt here). I went directly over to my library’s Web site and put in a request for the book, along with his first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.
If there’s any problem with my list of books to read, it’s that it grows at an increasingly faster clip while my reading speed remains constant.