AuthorDavid Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

NORMAL PEOPLE, Sally Rooney

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After several people whose opinions I respect said they found NORMAL PEOPLE “okay” and “pretty good,” I started the novel with low expectations. But I found the book much more than just okay or pretty good. Sally Rooney is a talented young writer. Where most of her talent resides is in the writing itself, as opposed to character motivation, plot, pacing or other elements...

This is Called Doubt

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I started thinking about the novel and got anxious that the characters are stupid and unappealing, or stock, or boring. They are duds and the story is a dud and the language is ugly and the writing forced.  The voice is wrought or annoying or soundless. The plot is vapid. The pace dull. This is called doubt. Crushing, debilitating, self-loathing doubt. I take full responsibility. I am disparaged...

Pitching a Novel in 250 Words

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I’m getting near the end of my novel, THE SUITOR. Now comes one of the hardest parts: writing a pitch for it that will attract agents, editors, and readers. You write a book that runs around 100,000 words and then you have to explain its essence and build excitement in about 250 words. It’s kind of a sucky task, but writing a good pitch helps: Crystalize for me what the novel is...

3 Things I Must Work on in Singles Tennis

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How to attack a short ball from an opponent when I have time and choice. My opponent hits a weak return of serve, or a short floater in the ground game. It’s going to bounce before I get there. But I do have time to move up into position for an attacking shot. Too often I put an inside-out forehand into the net. I’m hitting down on the ball, trying to strike a winner. If I compensate...

Today in a Cemetery

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I visited Lee, Massachusetts today and found myself in the Fairmount Cemetery. It’s an old graveyard, with sections of leaning, faded granite slabs, many greened with lichen. Names and dates you’d need a rubbing to read. Other, newer sections were populated with obelisks and polished slabs. I walked among the gravestones and the air was cold and occasionally the sun peeked out and I...

AMERICAN DIRT, Jeanine Cummins

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I managed to get my hands on an advance reader copy (ARC) of AMERICAN DIRT, by Jeanine Cummins, a novel that has received a lot of hype and seems destined to become a best seller based on early reviews and reader enthusiasm. Plenty of five-star ratings on Goodreads. Don Winslow calling it a GRAPES OF WRATH for our times. The novel is a story of chase and escape. Lydia and her eight-year-old son...

The Most Important Novels in My Life

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I have set myself a task for 2020: reread the ten most important books in my life. To qualify for the list, the novel (or novella or short story collections; I’m including those also), must meet one or more of the following criteria: It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve read the novel multiple times.It significantly influenced my own development as a novelist.The...

New Novel, First Chapter

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Here’s the first chapter of the novel I’m almost finished writing. THE SUITOR ART Art didn’t like the idea of Anna spending the summer in Porter Lake, but he was careful not to dissuade her. “I need to do something totally different this year,” she said. She’d arrived home last night after finishing her last semester of college. “We don’t want anything related to school or career,”...

One Story Detail is Bogging Me Down

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I seldom write about a novel I’m writing. That’s too meta for me. I rarely talk to others about my work in progress–I end up contradicting myself and sounding confused. It’s usually best if I let my writing do the talking for me. Today is the exception. Work-in-progress is a novel called (for now) THE SUITOR. The story centers on three characters: recent college-grad and...

THE TENNIS PARTNER, Adam Verghese

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Someone left this memoir in my Little Free Library and I snatched it up because the title included the word ‘tennis’. I like tennis. I play, I watch, I read about it. This compassionate and thoughtful book is not about tennis. It’s about a friendship between two men: Adam Verghese, a physician whose marriage has fallen apart, and David Smith, a medical student recovering from...

Which One is Better–the Book or the Movie?

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The dictum says the book is always better than the movie. Consider: you read a great novel, get absorbed in the fictional world, accompany the characters on their journeys. Your imagination creates every face, pictures every scene. You lose yourself for pages and pages. You loved the book. You hate the movie. Or, at best, the movie is okay. They did a pretty good job repurposing this incredible...

I’m the Curator of a Little Free Library

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A perfect autumn day for the library. Harriet gave me the idea to sponsor a Little Free Library. She seems to know when I need a project to focus on, and this one fit me well: I’m an author, an avid reader, and we have many full bookshelves in our house—books as furniture, we call that. I have just enough skill and an assortment of tools to believe I could design and build my own library rather...

A Fitting Epitaph

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A favorite place of mine is the Five Rivers Environmental Center just down the road from where I live. When the kids were young we would hike the many trails, catch frogs in the streams, and visit the educational center. When by myself now, I run on the trail network, chasing deer and getting chased by Canada geese. There’s one spot I always visit. A small sign with an arrow points from the...

“Parasite”

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In Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, the wealthy Park family collides with the poor but street-smart Kim family, causing . . . a movie like nothing I’ve ever seen. Sure, it’s a social issue film addressing the enormous gulf between the haves and have nots. But it’s also a black comedy, thriller, farce, tragedy, and domestic drama.  Add it all up and you get Art House. The storyline, the filming, the...

Working Title: THE SUITOR

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When I’m working on a novel or a story, I’m always unsettled until I decide upon the title. Before that, the narrative seems unfocused and lacks direction. I’m not fully in control or sure what I’m writing about. Not that finding the title solves those other writing issues–far from it. But the right title is essential. A strong title has a way of clarifying the story...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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