October 27, 2011

Jonathan Tropper, Author

Jonathan Tropper's books are smart and breezy, beautifully written and poignant. I LOVE This is Where I Leave You - great writing; not a comedy but told with a humorous perspective. I also really like Everything Changes and The Book of Joe. They both get bogged down a little in the middle for me but worth staying with. I had tears rolling down my face for the last twenty pages of The Book of Joe.

Here's a sample of his writing - a perfectly written scene from Everything Changes. The main character, Zack, is in a bar and sees a woman across the room talking to her girlfriend. He walks over to her and introduces himself (told from Zack’s POV in second person).

“There’s no easy way to break this to you,” you say, “so I’m just going to come right out with it. I’m here to hit on you.”
Hope laughs, and it’s a rich, musical laugh, unguarded and comfortable, like you’re old friends. Not at all what you expected. “Well,” she says. “I appreciate your candor.”
“May I begin?”
“Go for it.”
And what follows is two hours of perfect conversation, the kind you couldn’t have scripted if you wanted to, the kind where it becomes instantly apparent that your sensibilities and wits jibe, and when the conversation turns to banter, it’s easy and fun and never veers away from the substance of the discussion. And she quickly becomes familiar, touching your wrist when she laughs, leaning in to you easily when the crowd jostles her. And after a while, you realize your friends have left, and her girlfriend is long gone, and it’s with mixed feelings that you realize that they’re ringing last call at the bar, because on the one hand, when was the last time you made it to last call, but on the other, what the hell do you do now? You’ve long ago determined that tonight will not be about sex (as if it were up to you anyway), not because you don’t want it, God knows you do, but because you don’t want to ruin this one with a crude one-night stand.
But you don’t want the night to end, either, even though it already has. So you offer to walk her home and she acquiesces, and that works out well because it’s bitterly cold outside and she doesn’t so much hold your arm as wrap herself around it, and the wind blows her hair into your face, drawing tears as it whips at your eyes, and there’s intimacy in this, so much more so than with casual sex. Her building is one of those posh monoliths on Fifth Avenue, and you start to say good night, your voice hoarse from hours of shouting above the jukebox, but she pulls you past the doormen – “Hi, Nick. Hi, Santos” – and into the elevator. And before you can work up the nerve for a good-night kiss, she does it first, kissing you deeply, hungrily, backing you up against the elevator wall, the full length of her body pressed against you, making you wish to God you weren’t both wearing thick coats. And this goes on for fifteen flights, and then a little bit more, since she doesn’t stop when the door slides open on her floor. And then she steps back, breathless and windswept, deliciously disheveled, and says, “That was lovely.” She pulls out a silver Cross pen from her bag and writes her name and number down on your hand, and under that she writes To Be Continued, and then she turns serious and says, “Listen, Zack. I’m not into games and I don’t like players. If you like me, call me, okay? There’s no appropriate waiting period. If I don’t hear from you tomorrow, I’ll assume you’re not interested.”

Didn't that put you right in the middle of that scene?
You should read his books.

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