A couple people emailed me yesterday after reading Charles McGrath‘s profile of Charles Bock for the NYT Sunday magazine and wanted to know, as one reader put it, “Who’s Charles Bock’s damn rabbi?” Clearly Random House put a lot into promoting Beautiful Children, which comes out today, and focused much of that effort on the Times: Liesl Schillinger‘s going to discuss the book on the front page of the NYT Book Review this weekend, too. I don’t think I’ve seen the Times lavish this much attention on a debut novelist in such a compressed timeframe since… well, since Random House published Benjamin Kunkel back in 2005.
Although there was also the ten-day stretch earlier that year between the NYTBR review of Prep (not on the cover, though) and the profile of Curtis Sittenfeld—in the arts section, not the magazine. Which actually raises a good question, the answer to which I frankly don’t have the time to look up myself: Anybody remember the last time the Times magazine published a feature about a woman novelist? (For the purposes of this discussion, Deborah Solomon interviews don’t count; it’s got to be an actual profile).
As for Bock, I haven’t seen Beautiful Children, so I have no opinion about that, but I have to admit I do like what he told Sarah Weinman about writing his novel, even though it makes me feel slothful:
“Truth is I worked on this novel for 10 years. Not ten years of watching Seinfeld at 11 PM. Ten years of a high priority in my life. When I was dating the woman who is now my wife, I would only go out with her two nights a week because I couldn’t give more time to that.”
(photo: Eric Ogden/NYT)