Anthony Giardina is the author of four previous novels, most recently White Guys, and one collection of stories. His novel Norumbega Park will be published by FSG in January 2012. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine, and his plays have been widely produced. He is a regular visiting professor at the Michener Center of the University of Texas. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
I read only two new books in 2011: Stephen Harrigan’s Remember Ben Clayton, as smooth and satisfying as an old George Stevens movie, and Charles Baxter’s Gryphon, which contains at least one killer story, “Kiss Away.” The best novel I read this year is fifty years old, The Judges of the Secret Court by David Stacton, newly republished by New York Review Books. Subtitled “A Novel about John Wilkes Booth,” it’s actually a meditation on guilt, playacting, and the endless judgments that dog us always. Brilliant all the way.