Q&A with Robin Kirman, author of "Bradstreet Gate"

We recently had the exciting opportunity to talk with Robin Kirman about her new book, Bradstreet GateCheck out the Q&A below!

Robin Kirman earned a BA in philosophy from Yale College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she served as a writing instructor in the English department. Robin lives in New York City and Tel Aviv.

Synopsis: Georgia, Charlie and Alice each arrive at Harvard with hopeful visions of what the future will hold. But when, just before graduation, a classmate is found murdered on campus, they find themselves facing a cruel and unanticipated new reality. Moreover, a charismatic professor who has loomed large in their lives is suspected of the crime. Though his guilt or innocence remains uncertain, the unsettling questions raised by the case force the three friends to take a deeper look at their tangled relationship. Their bond has been defined by the secrets they ve kept from one another Charlie's love and Alice's envy, Georgia's mysterious affair and over the course of the next decade, as they grapple with the challenges of adulthood and witness the unraveling of a teacher's once-charmed life, they must reckon with their own deceits and shortcomings, each desperately in search of answers and the chance to be forgiven. 

1) How did you come to write Bradstreet Gate? 

The first draft of Bradstreet Gate was written in a fevered six months and during a moment of great personal tension – following a painful divorce, a long period of unemployment, and after discovering I was pregnant.  It was a time in my life when I sensed that people who cared about me were really worried, and perhaps asking themselves how someone like me – at least on the surface, at least once, a promising sort of young person – could find herself in such uncertain circumstances.  For me Bradstreet Gate was about this kind of uncertainty – and the questions that surround the murder investigation are at heart questions about what sort of security even our most prestigious institutions offer.  I chose Harvard as the setting for the pivotal events because it’s still a potent symbol for us as a society: a gateway to prosperity and happiness.  The real violence in the novel is, I think, performed on that fantasy.

2) What are you currently reading?

The Secret History. So many people have said that my book is either similar, or else completely dissimilar to Tartt’s first novel, so I felt I ought to pick that book up again and see for myself.  

3) Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why? 

I wouldn’t say that I have one favorite book, though there are certain authors that I feel help me with my writing, somehow. These are people I’ll turn to when I need a boost of energy: Roth, Bellow, Fitzgerald, Franzen are just a few. 

4) Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson.  I’m also curious about Garth Risk Halberg’s novel and, yes, Franzen’s Purity too. 

5) What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?

There is a next novel in the works, though it’s at such an early stage it’s still hard to talk about. I’m exploring issues surrounding the new, largely Hispanic national identity – and, generally, American identity in crisis. 

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