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The Year That Follows by Scott Lasser
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The Year That Follows

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The Year That Follows by Scott Lasser
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Jul 13, 2010 | ISBN 9780307456380

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  • Jul 13, 2010 | ISBN 9780307456380

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“[A] tender novel about the powerful, complicated ties of family.” —The Boston Globe

“Life-affirming … stirring, poignant, and quietly profound.” —Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed

“I couldn’t put Scott Lasser’s The Year That Follows down…. One of the best novels about loss I’ve ever read.” —Anita Shreve, author The Pilot’s Wife
“Moving…. I won’t reveal the surprising ending to this touching novel, but … it manages to focus on the possibly redemptive aspects of 9/11 without being in any way saccharine or overdone.” —David Milofsky, The Denver Post
“A rich, complex tribute to the forces that bind families together and too often tear them apart.” —Bloomberg News

“Lasser’s spare, evocative prose lends grace to this moving tale of the enduring bonds of family that even tragedy can’t diminish.” —The Free Lance-Star
“Sensational. . . . Lasser’s characters are life-like, and his fluid language and storytelling don’t prevent him from examining poignant emotional truths.” —The Aspen Times
“Will stay on the bookshelf for years.” —Daily Candy
“With a surprise twist, this reflective novel is sure to spark lively discussion.” —The Missourian
“Getting to know Lasser’s complex and affecting characters is a profound pleasure, as is his radiant understanding of intimate relationships between parents and children and men and women. ” —Booklist (starred review)
“A taut, masterfully controlled and profoundly moving novel. . . . A novel with barely a wasted word or an emotion that doesn’t ring true.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“There are few books this reviewer is compelled to finish in one sitting, and this was one of them.” —Henry Bankhead, Library Journal
“A novel to savor, remember, to think about and pass along to a friend.” —Hudson Valley News

Author Q&A

Where did the idea for THE YEAR THAT FOLLOWS come from?

It grew out of my last novel, All I Could Get. [My editor] Jordan calledme during the summer
of 2001, about seven months before publication, and suggested that it might be a good idea to make a pass through the Knopf offices, where I’d never been. The idea was to meet the marketing people, make myself known. I said sure, when? She suggested that anytime after Labor Day was fine. My daughter’s birthday is September 9, a Sunday that year, so I said, “How about if I fly out on Monday, the 10th, and come in the morning of the 11th.” Which is how I happened to be in Manhattan on September 11. Now, if you were in Manhattan that day it might well have occurred to you to write about it, even if you had never written more than a grocery list. Writing about it certainly occurred to me, but I had to throw away reams of material before I got to this rather compact book.

You worked in finance in Manhattan for a while—Kyle, whose death sets THE YEAR THAT FOLLOWS in motion, does the same. Did you draw much on your previous life when writing Kyle and putting some of the elements of the book together?

A little. I worked at Lehman Brothers (an investment bank of the past), in the World Financial Center, across the West Side Highway from the towers. I imagined that Kyle worked at a place like Lehman or Merrill (whose offices were in a similar place). I had some idea of how a morning for Kyle might go.

THE YEAR THAT FOLLOWS alternates between Kyle’s sister—a single mother, struggling to make ends meet and find Kyle’s child, and Kyle’s father—facing the end of his life, eager to tie up loose strings as he can.Was capturing the voices of such different characters difficult?

Well, that is a novelist’s job. It’s not so horrible to be paid (though not much) to assume the identity of someone completely unlike one’s self.

Why do you think Cat is so eager to find Kyle’s son? What does Ian represent to her?

This interpretation is probably best left to readers, who will see it a variety of ways. No doubt most will agree that the ambiguity of Cat’s own paternity forms the foundation of her motivation.

In many ways, this novel is about loss, and people’s desire to overcome it and redeem themselves in the wake of it. What led you to write about that topic?

I’m not sure I had a choice. After being in Manhattan on that horrific day, it was a good bet I wasn’t going to write a comic novel. Besides, “the exploration of loss” is probably a good way to categorize most novels.

Have you read any of the “9/11 novels” that have been released so far?

I’ve read a lot but not all of the 9/11 novels that have come out, but most after I was well along in writing The Year That Follows, which is somewhat different in that most of the book does not take place in New York. Of the 9/11 books I read, the four I like best are, in no particular order, McInerney’s The Good Life, Walter’s The Zero, Kalfus’s A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, and Messud’s The Emperor’s Children. They’re all quite different from one another.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of a first draft of a new novel. It’s too new to talk about in detail. Let me say only that it takes place in my hometown of Detroit.

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