It’s been a very long time since I’ve updated the site; consider this post a tentative re-entry into online society. I’ll be updating my clips in the next few weeks and announcing some forthcoming, long-percolating projects. A good place to start catching up is my recent cover story on Natalie Portman, who just played a grieving first lady in Jackie and will soon play Ruth Bader Ginsburg (before she was quite as notorious as she is today). I also wrote the cover story on Michelle Williams for Elle‘s January issue, on stands this week and online…soon after? Anyway, enjoy. It’s been an unusually celeby couple of months, but it’s fun to toggle between glam and grit—and to see Oscar contenders without having to hire a babysitter. Talk soon.

Asher wasn't around for the hardcover release, but prefers the portability of paperbacks anyway.

Asher wasn’t around for the hardcover release, and anyway prefers the taste of paperbacks.


Much has happened in the five months since I last posted. Mainly, Asher Kachka joined our family four months ago—an accomplishment compared to which Hothouse is dust in the wind. Bookwise, there was a visit to Andover, MA, for a long interview with Dean Velvel of the Massachusetts School of Law. And on Saturday, February 15 at 11:30 am, I’ll be giving a talk as part of the Savannah Book Festival—at the Jepson Center boardroom if you happen to be nearby. We’re delighted to be down South (Asher too, on his first plane trip), and to have survived a harrowing Snowmaggedony day at Kennedy International Airport. Thank you Jetblue, and thank you to the Savannah Book Festival for putting me in the company of so many authors that have so many more readers than I. Do check out the website of this gloriously varied book fair, set in a beautiful town.


Time for an update on what’s out there regarding my work-child——possibly the last before the onslaught of actual fatherhood.

Most importantly, Jason Epstein showers some late love on HH and its main subject, the complicated King Roger.

I distilled some lessons for writers based on Hothouse for Poets & Writers. It’s print-only, alas, but it boils down to: Be a diva when you have to be, but never a snob.

Just in time for the Frankfurt Book Fair, its trade paper Publishing Perspectives runs a very nice piece on the book from journalist Dylan Foley, who introduced me to a great neighborhood coffee/lunch spot, Lincoln Station, in the process of interviewing me.

I gave The Week my six favorite books–at least those pertaining to mid-century America and/or publishing.

I had a wonderfully freewheeling conversation with Lewis Frumkes, a beloved local interviewer of authors and artists–albeit a bit laid back, hence the lack of a link to his latest show on WPAT-AM, where I’m said to be featured. Stay tuned!

My reading at the Half King on September 9 went well I think; the three-cheese mac-n-cheese was a highlight as always. But catch me at the Brooklyn Book Festival next Sunday, where I’ll be talking with Janet Groth, onetime longtime New Yorker employee and author of The Receptionist, a memoir of her time there that might even make Roger Straus blush. Titled “Publish and Perish?”, it’ll be moderated by insightful publishing reporter Motoko Rich at 3 p.m. on September 22 at the Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 128 Pierrepont Street.

Future events will take me to Hartford, Boston, Savannah, and a small class of impressionable journalism students at the New School, but only after a month or more of pure, unadulterated baby time, which I’m very much looking forward to. (No time for Twitter, I’ll be happy to say.) Until then, read the book!


I first discovered Thomas Pynchon’s V. on the fiction bookshelf of a Midwood branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at age 15, while visiting my grandparents nearby. I was immediately, irrevocably hooked. Two of my goals in life have been to interview Vladimir Nabokov’s son and to find out as much as I could about Pynchon. One out of two, in this case, is pretty good.

I’m very excited to see this go out into the world, after a couple of months of interviews and archival research and even a few round-trip drives between Burbank and Pasadena (long story). If anyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed reporting and writing it (not likely), I’ll be intensely happy.

(Also, check out the amazing Pynchon age progression!)

On the Thomas Pynchon Trail


And to celebrate, read more and more about it. (The press coverage over the last two days feels like those San Diego fireworks that all went off simultaneously last year.)

Excerpt in Slate: “Jonathan Franzen vs. Oprah Winfrey”


Interview online with Chris Bollen
Los Angeles Review of Books with Lauren Walsh


The New Republic: “Inside the ‘One-Stop Shop of Literary Greatness'”

And the full print Entertainment Weekly treatment



Los Angeles Times

Boston Globe

The New Yorker


IMG_42887 p.m., with drinks after at 61 Local around the corner.

And a wonderful day to have two fantastic pieces of print come out:

The New York Times ArtsBeat Q&A, In Print Form. Teased on the Arts cover, where my picture appears opposite Robin Thicke’s, naturally.      ————>

And a wonderful review in The Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall) from FSG alum Paul Elie—thoughtful and eloquent on the importance of FSG independently of his coverage of my book. Which is really the best I could wish for.


LA Times has a lovely, lovely review up, running in the print paper on Sunday. Is it me or are the most accurate ones the most positive so far? Just me, I’m sure.

‘Hothouse’ an irresistible history of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, dirt and all


Several notices yesterday (today looks calmer, which might be nice). Here are the two that weren’t dumb:

A Grade I Remember Very Well, from Entertainment Weekly

And my e-mail convo with John Williams from the New York Times’s ArtsBeat:

The Mostly Good Old Days: Boris Kachka Talks about ‘Hothouse’