Kirkus Reviews Highlights Great New Novels from Texas

The editor of the literary magazine talks Texas writers this month.

By David BrownFebruary 18, 2015 1:19 pm

This month, Texans can look inward to catch up on their reading.

Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith stops by the Standard about new reads from Texas authors. “This state is great material for writers,” he says. “Not only because Texans have this imagination about ourselves – this kind of myth from the past – but this state is changing in crucial ways. And so it’s an interesting kind of vista for writers from all over the state.”

Smith sings the praises of two new books from Texas writers.

My Heart is a Drunken Compass by Domingo Martinez: “In the first page of this book, he writes about trying to kill himself – [then] recovering from that, not leaving his apartment for five days until his girlfriend convinced him to leave the apartment to go to the hospital to see his recent ex-girlfriend who tried to run her Jeep off of an overpass and was in a coma in a hospital. It is a little melodramatic … but the amount of clarity that Domingo brings to his own story and his insight about himself and his family is really sharp and pretty wonderful.”

A Tightly Raveled Mind” by Diane Lawson: “Diane is a psychoanalyst in San Antonio in real life, and this is her first novel. The novel is about a psychoanalyst who is also a Freudian – and you know Freudians, they don’t really believe in coincidence. So what happens is that her wealthy clients all start dying … murdered. The police talk to her, and they believe it’s coincidence, but of course she doesn’t. … For it to emerge from San Antonio is kind of unique, I think.”

Smith also mentions one book he couldn’t put down.

“‘A Little Life‘ by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s set in New York, about four male friends who go to college together and move to New York. It reflects something really fascinating that’s happening in fiction right now, which is that interior stories –less so than slash-and-burn action stories – seems to be where things are going right now.”

What are you reading? Tweet us: @texasstandard.

This story was prepared with assistance by Rachel Phua.