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‘Rescue’ me

It’s very rare that an Anita Shreve novel  (she’s the prolific author of such acclaimed works as “The Pilot’s Wife” and “A Change in Altitude”) doesn’t make the best-seller lists.

It’s very rare that an Anita Shreve novel (she’s the prolific author of such acclaimed works as “The Pilot’s Wife” and “A Change in Altitude”) doesn’t make the best-seller lists. Her current book, “Rescue,” follows that trend (it’s currently on the extended list). But that’s because Shreve knows what readers like: books that feature tragedy and hope. And, as she tells Metro, although she tried, it’s impossible not to.

How does ‘Rescue’ differ from your previous books in terms of theme?

With all my books, they are slightly different than the one before. I thought I would do a literary thriller with ‘Rescue,’ but once I wrote the first two chapters, I saw it wasn’t going to be a literary thriller because I don’t know how to not write a novel that doesn’t have tragedy or hope.

Where does ‘Rescue’ rank in your oeuvre, do you think?

That’s not for me to say. That’s for other people to say. I do always try to work upwards instead of down.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Shelia, of course. She’s very sassy and witty and dangerous. When you have someone dangerous, they are always the most fun.

Right, it’s not as though you’re in the same room.

Exactly. I don’t have to marry them.

Chick lit. Books for women. Literary fiction. The definition of what kind of books you write gets thrown around a lot. When asked you what you write, how do you respond?

I write literary fiction. I know that some say it’s chick lit, but I hate that term. It’s very dismissive. What does that mean? That a guy can’t read it? [In ‘Rescue’] I have a male protagonist. But 90 percent of book-buyers are women. If you’re going to go by that, you have to make all books appealing to them, except the odd political biography.


 
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