Thursday, January 21, 2010
Favorite Unknown: Julie Hecht
Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…
Julie Hecht is primarily a writer of short stories, all narrated through the perspective of an eccentric Jewish neurotic, who's perpetually working on a series of photographs of her world-renowned reproductive surgeon, prodding others to adopt a macrobiotic diet, removing the polo player from various articles of clothing, chatting up cashiers and waiters, and steeling herself to face those really trying times with Mozart operas in her personal audio device and a prescription of Xanax in her purse.
And always, always observing the absurdities of life with a perplexed honesty at how things have come to be the way they are.
I've heard her described as an acquired taste, but I've loved her from the get-go.
Her two collections of stories are Do the Windows Open? and Happy Trails to You. Her novel The Unprofessionals, which relates the story of her unnamed narrator's friendship with the world-renowned reproductive surgeon's son, should be read between these, although Hecht's style is better suited to short works.
Was This Man A Genius? describes a series of interviews Hecht conducted with the late comedian Andy Kaufman for a Harper's profile that was deemed too odd to run in the magazine.
Give her a try when you're in the mood for something a little offbeat.
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