David Bezmozgis comes to the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival this Sunday along with Nadia Kalman (The Cosmopolitans) and Haley Tanner (Vaclav and Lena) for the panel discussion “Glasnost’s Children” which examines new fiction on the Russian-Jewish experience. Bezmozgis has been getting lots of acclaim ever since his debut collection of short stories, Natasha and in 2010 was named to the New Yorker’s list of “20 Under 40” highlighting the most promising fiction writers under the age of 40. What about his new novel The Free World? Well, The New York Times said:
Might it be overstating the case to include this first-time novelist in the same sentence as such fine writers as Mr. Roth and Mr. Michaels? Well, Mr. Bezmozgis’s taut 2004 debut collection “Natasha and Other Stories” suggested that he might well be of those authors’ caliber; “The Free World” goes a long way toward confirming this status.
We asked him the Seven Questions over email and got the following. I’m willing to bet he’ll be more loquacious at the panel discussion.
1) How would you describe what you do to someone from the 19th Century?
The problem isn’t describing it to someone from the 19th century, the problem is describing it to someone in the 21st century.
2) What did you want to be when you grew up?
3) Is there a book you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve never read?
Many. But I’ll go with Proust.
4) Woody Allen, Pro or Con?
Pro, pre-1990s; con, post-1990s.
5) What’s your favorite non-English word?
6) What issue do you wish other people knew more about?
How about the definitions of fascism and socialism? Those words get thrown around a lot. Often interchangeably.
7) Historical figure, living or not, that you’d want to share a bagel with and what kind of bagel?
You mean we’d have to split one poppyseed Montreal bagel? Well, somebody ancient. Cleopatra. Or King David. Or Socrates.
Read all of the Seven Question interviews.