Today at 5:00pm on WCHE 1520am, Sam interviews Dana Spiotta author of Stone Arabia.
Stone Arabia, Dana Spiotta’s moving and intrepid third novel, is about family, obsession, memory, and the urge to create — in isolation, at the margins of our winner-take-all culture.
In the sibling relationship, “there are no first impressions, no seductions, no getting to know each other,” says Denise Kranis. For her and her brother Nik, now in their forties, no relationship is more significant. They grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Nik was always the artist, always wrote music, always had a band. Now he makes his art in private, obsessively documenting the work, but never testing it in the world. Denise remains Nik’s most passionate and acute audience, sometimes his only audience. She is also her family’s first defense against the world’s fragility. Friends die, their mother’s memory and mind unravel, and the news of global catastrophe and individual tragedy haunt Denise. When her daughter Ada decides to make a film about Nik, everyone’s vulnerabilities seem to escalate.
“Fascinating…resonant…what’s most remarkable about Stone Arabia is the way Spiotta explores such broad, endemic social ills in the small, peculiar lives of these sad siblings. Her reflections on the precarious nature of modern life are witty until they’re really unsettling. She’s captured that hankering for something alluring in the past that never was.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
Scribner published Dana Spiotta’s first novel, Lightning Field, in 2001. The New York Times called it “the debut of a wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life, and an unerring ear for how people talk and try to cope today.” It was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the West.
Her second novel, Eat the Document, was published in 2006 by Scribner. It was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Michiko Kakutani wrote in her review in The New York Times that Eat The Document was “stunning” and described it as “a book that possesses the staccato ferocity of a Joan Didion essay and the razzle-dazzle language and the historical resonance of a Don DeLillo novel.”
Stone Arabia is Spiotta’s third novel. Scribner published it in 2011. Stone Arabia is a National Book Critics Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book of 2011. It was named a best book of 2011 by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly and Salon.
Spiotta lives in Central New York with her daughter and husband. She teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.