Andrew Pippos Desert Island Book

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Andrew Pippos is a Sydney-based author, author and speaker on creative writing. Her debut novel Luckys was published in 2020 and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary Award 2021. I read and loved his debut in early 2021, and so I was thrilled when he agreed to participate in my lonely island book series. Keep reading to find out what books he would take with him to the sandy shores of a deserted island, from his favorite collection of short stories to the book he calls the perfect novel…

Radetzky’s March by Joseph Roth

It’s really a perfect novel-it’s a cross-generational novel about three generations of one family, and it’s also a story about the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It explores the themes of fatherhood, masculinity and failure and it is also a book that has had a significant influence on Lucky’s. It’s an epic book in terms of schedule, but it’s not epic in terms of page length, like Lucky’s, so in a way it served as a template for me.

Puttermessers Papers by Cynthia Ozick

An American writer; I think Cynthis Ozick is one of the most beautiful prose writers. I think The Puttermesser Papers is Cynthia’s best book, and it reminds me a lot of Nabokov and especially of her book Pnin. In the sense that it’s almost like a story within a story.

The Charterhouse of Parma of Stendhal

The Charterhouse of Parma really helped me in many ways when it came to writing Lucky’s. The first seventy pages of this book – titled the Waterloo sequence-is my favorite text of all time; it’s about a young man from Lake Como who runs away to join Napoleon’s army because he’s young and silly and thinks Napoleon has good ideas. He joins the French army just before the Battle of Waterloo, which is a very bad timing; it’s a font that I reread from time to time, and I love it.

George Mills by Stanley Elkin

Published in the 1980s – I suppose you would call this book a historical novel – it starts in the time of the second Crusade and it’s about these people named after George Mills. It’s a book that spans many, many centuries, and I can’t think of a book that’s more epic in terms of calendar. What I really love is what an absolutely great writer Elkin is; it’s pretty awesome what he can do with language.

Praise and Praise by Andrew McGahan in 1988

Both are set in Brisbane and are about a character named Gordon; he is unemployed, he smokes a lot of cigarettes and he has terrible loves and they are both really awesome books to read – especially in my 20s, but I have reread them both recently and loved them just as much.

The collected poems of Russell Edson

Each of his poems is this ridiculous concept that he leads to his graduation, and I find them all very amusing.

Collection of novels by Jorge Luis Borges

A writer I have loved since childhood, the big story for me is still the Aleph, which tells the story of a man who discovers this tiny ball of light in the basement of his friend’s house. And in this sphere you can see all the things that have ever happened at once. I love it – it’s also a story about writers, rivalries and heartbreak, but it’s really about a man overcoming a broken heart. It takes about four or five years to do this, but it is the arc of the characters in the story that makes it a rather local and devoted fiction.

Men in the Off-Hours by Anne Carson

I think Menin the Off Hours is my favorite book by Anne Carson, she writes beautiful, funny poems and brilliant essays, often dealing with classical literature. I think my favorite poem from this book is called Essay on what I think about the most, which is written almost like an essay, but it’s in verse, and it’s about an old Spartan poet and the problem in one of the fragments of his manuscript. But in reality, the poem is about making mistakes and knowing how people react to the mistake and mistakes that we make in our lives.

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