Monthly Archives: October 2016

Debut Authors Over 50

Proto Libro celebrates its fourth anniversary this month! As I look back on the news and reviews I have covered, I feel like authors who are publishing later in life are getting featured on blogs and in the mainstream media more than they used to. Bloom is a blog that only publishes articles about debut authors over 40. 35 over 35 is a blog that started last year, and features a yearly round up of authors publishing debuts after 35. And I also see more traditional media outlets featuring older authors, making an older person’s debut a story to follow.

The latest in this trend is in Poets & Writers magazine, which this month is publishing excerpts from five authors who debuted after 50. All of the authors were new to me and are mainly published in small presses. They feature a novelist, a poet, two short story writers and a memoir writer.

The memoir, Rust Belt Boy, Stories of an American Childhood, by Paul Hertneky stood out to me the most. This is likely because my family comes from the Rust Belt, and the economic decline of this area feels so relevant to the political debates consuming our country. The book, which I have not read yet, is about Hertneky’s childhood in Western Pennsylvania and how the small town he grew up transformed at the end of the 20th Century as the Steel Mill era came to an end.

I have put that one on my to-read list.

Happy reading all and thanks for your ongoing support of Proto Libro!


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Ways to Disappear, by Idra Novey


Ways to Disappear

By Idra Novey

Little, Brown and Company, 2016

258 pages

Ways to Disappear is about a Brazilian author, Beatriz Yagoda, who goes missing in a tree. Emma, Beatriz’s American translator, travels from Pittsburgh to Salvador to help Beatrice’s children, and her publisher, find the author, who was not found in said tree. Told in short snappy chapters, the search for Beatriz leads to an unlikely series of events and discoveries, including that Beatriz had a lot of debt from gambling.

The author, Idra Novey is an American writer and poet who has translated Clarice Lispector. I love Lispector, a Brazilian author. For those of you who do not know her, she is a master of the absurd, quirky short story. Ways to Disappear feels almost like an homage to Lispector, while being distinctly the work of another writer.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I enjoyed this book as much for its writing and language as for the story. Novey’s love of language infuses the book. And there is a meta-layer to the story as Novey is a translator writing about a translator and her relationship with a missing author. If you’re looking for a different kind of novel, with beautiful language, this is a great one to pick up.

Novey teaches writing in the New York area and has also published books of poetry.



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