Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

Posted · Add Comment

Print-Online_Publishers-Weekly Woman with a Blue Pencil

Gordon McAlpine, Author

McAlpine (Hammett Unwritten as Owen Fitzstephen) once again ventures successfully into metafiction, jumping back and forth between two separate manuscripts while delivering a masterly critique of the mystery novel. Author Takumi Sato must revise the manuscript of his novel about a Japanese-American academic, Sam Sumida, who turns detective after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. One version of Sato’s novel is a jingoistic tale of American heroism in which all Japanese characters are villains; the other focuses on Sam Sumida, a character who’s no longer allowed to exist, either in the novel or in the United States. Between chapters, readers see the interjections of Maxime Wakefield, Sato’s editor, who urges him to excise any critiques of America, and any mentions of homosexuality and racism, even as Sato himself, as a second-generation Japanese immigrant, is forced to move to an internment camp. McAlpine’s greatest accomplishment is that the book works both as a conventional mystery story and as a deconstruction of the genre’s ideology: whichever strand readers latch on to, the parallel stories pack a brutal punch. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (Nov.)

 

News & Events


A Starred Review from Booklist for Holmes Entangled

A Starred Review from Booklist for Holmes Entangled

  Believe it! Sherlock Holmes actually said, “while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.” Thus does he foreshadow quantum mechanics in this pastiche that has the old bloodhound—he’s 73 now—moving through…

Holmes Entangled Published by Seventh Street Books

Holmes Entangled Published by Seventh Street Books

Set in 1920s’ London, Cambridge, and Paris, Holmes’s final adventure leads him through labyrinths of crime and espionage in a mortally dangerous inquiry into the unseen nature of existence itself. Sherlock Holmes, now in his seventies, retired from investigations and…

L.A. Review of Books Weighs In

L.A. Review of Books Weighs In

FIGHTING ERASURE by Yutaka Dirks JANUARY 25, 2016 LIKE ITS AMERICAN COUNTERPARTS, my Japanese-Canadian family was interned by their own government in the horrible years after Pearl Harbor. Most of my Canadian-born grandfather’s family lost their homes in Chemainus, an…

Guest Blog for Mystery Fanfare

Guest Blog for Mystery Fanfare

  Is it “Write what you know,” or “Write to discover what you know”? Acclaimed author Gordon McAlpine explores this question, drawing from his experience writing the Edgar nominated novel, Woman with a Blue Pencil.  Thanks Flannery O’Connor, Thanks Dad …

A Great Evening at the Center for Fiction in NYC

A Great Evening at the Center for Fiction in NYC

What if your life had been erased by an editor holding a blue pencil over a manuscript? In Gordon McAlpine’s new novel Woman with a Blue Pencil (Edgar Award nominee!) he takes the reader on a meta-fictional investigation of this question. A…
[ + ]