Philosopher, lawyer, professor, wife, mother, and expert homemaker Cheryl Mendelson added "novelist" to her impressive (and long!) list of credentials with the moving family dramas Morningside Heights and Love, Work, Children. Sweet success for a writer who actually burned her first novel, a page at a time, in the fireplace.
Read the interview
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
August 6, 1946
Place of Birth:
B.A., University of Florida, 1968; Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1973; J.D., Harvard University, 1981
|Our Book Club Pick|
|Love, Work, Children: A Novel|
Mendelson returns to the scene of her 2003 novel, Morningside Heights, in this examination of the lives of wealthy New Yorker Peter Frankl and his family. When Peter's controlling wife falls into a coma after a car accident, the family's grief is paradoxically balanced with the newfround freedom experienced by Peter and his children. Book clubs will find this a warm, subtle look at the games of social standing and the ties of love.
Read an excerpt
|A Writer's Rituals|
|In our interview, Mendelson revealed some of her writing rituals: "On the first day at the desk, it is pristinely neat, with a fresh notepad, sharpened pencils, and maybe even a bud vase with some actual buds. I create a new directory on my computer and update my word processor and consider, again, buying a faster printer. (I always decide not to.) This orderly state of affairs lasts for at least several hours. Then the chaos and irrationality of the process take over, and I don’t re-order things until a first draft is complete -- maybe a year later. All these little rituals are poignant aspirations for control and order in a process that is frighteningly uncontrollable, and they are completely absurd."|
|Domestic Diva||On Her Reading List...|
|Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House|
Mendelson's first book -- a comprehensive guide the art of keeping a clean, smoothly functioning home -- reinforces many traditional housekeeping methods that may have been forgotten (or never learned!), even as it incorporates current recommendations from experts. Newsweek called her homey how-to "an extraordinary achievement that has no peer in this century."
|Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed|
We asked Mendelson what's on her reading radar. "I’d like to read Jared Diamond’s new book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which is about how various societies have destroyed themselves through ecological and social irrationalism," she reveals. "I read an extract about Easter Island that was as riveting as a crime thriller."
|Photo by Jerry Bauer||