Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to spoke to The Water Cure author Sophie Mackintosh.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
BM: Favorite re-read?
SM: A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter. I probably read it once or twice a year, as a reminder of how words can work.
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
SM: The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. Like The Water Cure it’s an eerie coming of age where what’s real and what isn’t is blurred; there’s confinement and violence.
BM: A book that blew your mind?
SM: The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek, which totally stunned me.
BM: Last book you read?
SM: A proof copy of the forthcoming Pew, by Catherine Lacey, of whom I am a big fan—an elegant, strange book.
BM: A book that made you cry?
SM: I was definitely not okay after finishing the amazing In The Cut by Susanna Moore. Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
SM: Cygnet by Season Butler—it’s unlike any dystopia / utopia I’ve read, and it’s incredibly imaginative and unique.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
SM: There were parts where I laughed during Suicide Blonde by Darcey Steinke, maybe out of shock, but also because of absurdity (I mean this as a compliment). I am very drawn to books that counterbalance their bleakness with dark gallows humour, which Suicide Blonde does with melodramatic flair.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
SM: Middlemarch by George Eliot—I have seen a few people talking about it recently, and as someone very suggestible perhaps I shall give it a go.
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
SM: Sweet Days of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy. I am obsessed with a quote relating to her process—“The void is a plant that must continually be watered.” What a concept! I, too, love to water the void!
BM: Favorite book of the 21st century?
SM: The Changeling by Joy Williams—hallucinogenic, deeply weird, and woefully overlooked.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
SM: I would love so much to see The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin on the screen—I believe it might be in the works, but I am impatient for it!
Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel, The Water Cure, was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize, shortlisted for the Collyer Bristow prize, and won a Betty Trask award. Her fiction, essays and poetry have been published by the New York Times, Granta, The White Review and the Stinging Fly, among others. Her next novel, Blue Ticket, will be published in June 2020 by Doubleday.
Sophie Mackintosh’s The Water Cure is out now in paperback from Anchor