Jessica Shattuck

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Jessica Shattuck

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The United States
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October 2009


Jessica Shattuck is the New York Times Bestselling author of the novels The Women in the Castle, The Hazards of Good Breeding, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among others. She received her MFA from Columbia University. Shattuck now lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, MA.


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Jessica Shattuck What an interesting question! Thank you. I try to think about that time less in terms of "forgiveness" than truthfulness and understanding. Sometimes…moreWhat an interesting question! Thank you. I try to think about that time less in terms of "forgiveness" than truthfulness and understanding. Sometimes the idea of squeezing everything through the lens of "can I-- or anyone else-- forgive this or that action?" feels like it limits our ability to understand the how and why it happened. I guess I felt that the character you are talking about (Ania?) would have felt it was not her place to forgive or not forgive herself. That she just had to be as honest with herself as possible.(less)
Jessica Shattuck I tried to be as faithful as possible to the realities of the time and the details of day to day life. It was definitely a stark time. So in as much…moreI tried to be as faithful as possible to the realities of the time and the details of day to day life. It was definitely a stark time. So in as much as those realities highlighted the choices the characters had make, it was less a conscious action on my part than it was an organic outcome of my research, but I was definitely very interested exploring those choices.(less)
Average rating: 3.85 · 38,254 ratings · 4,939 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Women in the Castle

3.88 avg rating — 37,183 ratings — published 2017 — 40 editions
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The Hazards of Good Breeding

3.08 avg rating — 690 ratings — published 2003
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Perfect Life

2.92 avg rating — 381 ratings — published 2009 — 4 editions
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More of Jessica's books…
“Years later, as a professor, Martin would try to find the words to articulate the power of togetherness in a world where togetherness had been corrupted -- and to explore the effect of the music, the surprising lengths the people had gone to to hear it and to play it, as evidence that music, and art in general, are basic requirements of the human soul. Not a luxury but a compulsion. He will think of it every time he goes to a museum or a concert or a play with a long line of people waiting to get inside.”
Jessica Shattuck, The Women in the Castle

“For so long Marianne and Albrecht and many of their friends had known Hitler was a lunatic, a leader whose lowbrow appeal to people's most selfish, self-pitying emotions and ignorance was an embarrassment for their country.”
Jessica Shattuck, The Women in the Castle

“In the future, Martin will recall this night as the first time -- and one of the only times -- he ever saw Germans crying in public, not at the news of a dead loved one or at the sight of their bombed home, and not in physical pain, but from spontaneous emotion. For this brief time, they were not hiding from one another, wearing their masks of cold and practical detachment. The music stirred the hardened sediment of their memory, chafed against layers of horror and shame, and offered a rare solace in their shared anger, grief and guilt.”
Jessica Shattuck, The Women in the Castle

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