Rebecca Makkai and Anna North on Perception, Artists, and Chicago

City of stories

My first experience with Rebecca Makkai was an accidental one. I was in Minneapolis for the AWP Conference in 2014 and I had just sat down for a panel titled “Art of the Encounter” because Chinelo Okparanta was sitting as a panelist and hers was the only name I recognized. Alas, Okparanta was unable to attend, and Chicago-based author, Rebecca Makkai was asked to fill in for her. The moderator, Arna Bontemps Hemenway, introduced her with an anecdote of listening to Makkai on audiobook while trying to pack before a move, which proved detrimental to his work as he constantly had to sit and listen to her words and allow himself to be enveloped by them. “Okay,” I thought, “She sounds like she must be pretty good.”

Since then, her books, The Borrower, Music for Wartime, and The Hundred-Year House have earned places among my favorite books due to their…

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