Anita Shreve before her Talking Volumes appearance in St. Paul Dec. 8.
Anita Shreve, author of such hit novels as "The Pilot's Wife" and "The Weight of Water," appeared Dec. 8 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. It was the final event in the current season of Talking Volumes.
Shreve, who lives in Boston, spoke about and read from her newest novel, "Rescue," a dark romance involving an unlikely love affair, a failed marriage, alcoholism and a man who works as a paramedic and raises his daughter alone in rural Vermont. For an interview with the writer, go here. For a video shot at Shreve's house, go here.
Shreve talked about her decision to quit teaching and take up fiction writing. After early attempts to publish short stories in literary magazines proved non-lucrative, she briefly wrote nonfiction journalism. She wrote her first novel in secret, and against the advice of her nonfiction agent and her former husband, she said. "Since then, novels are the only thing I have written," Shreve said.
"Rescue" is her 16th novel. "The Pilot's Wife" was an Oprah Book Club selection, and Shreve wrote the screenplay for the TV movie. That novel featured a less-than-honorable husband, which Shreve said angered her real-life mother. "My parents were happily married 58 years, and my mother was very upset when 'Pilot's Wife' came out," Shreve said. "She told me everyone was going to think her husband was no good."
In response to an audience member who wondered why Shreve's books often lack a happy ending, Shreve said, "I think life intensely felt is why I'm a novelist." She acknowledged that she is happy in her work and personal life, but added "I am not big fan of the happy ending."
Patty Johnson of Hastings at the Fitzgerald Theater Wednesday night. She brought nine Shreve novels for autographs.
The musical guest for the night was Dan Israel.
Talking Volumes is co-sponsored by Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, in collaboration with The Loft. Listen for the Shreve interview, re-broadcast soon on MPR.