POLITICO’s Summer Reading List

From POLITICO, Here’s What Politicos Are Reading This Summer: 27 books + The Ruin of Everything by Lara Stapleton! So thrilled for Lara whose book was released in fall of last year by Paloma Press, and also featured in The New York Times and Philippine Star, among others!

The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.

About the author:

LARA STAPLETON was born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan. Her maternal family is from the Philippines. New York City is her homeland. She is the author of the short story collections The Ruin of Everything (Paloma Press) and The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection, and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She edited The Thirdest World (Factory School) and co-edited Juncture (Soft Skull). Her work has appeared in dozens of periodicals, including The LA Review of Books, The Nerds of Color, Poets and Writers, The Brooklyn Rail, Ms., Glimmer Train, and The Indiana Review. A writer of prose, poetry, and teleplays, she is developing 1850; co-created with Rachel Watanabe-Batton, the television series is set in antebellum New Orleans and is about mixed-race families, taboo and the color line. The project was selected for the IFP No Borders International Co-Production Market. She is also at work on a show about a self-destructive multi-cultural community in Brooklyn and another about a Filipino-American restaurateur with Nicole Ponseca. 

She was the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for writers and a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for fiction. She was also the winner of the Columbia Journal fiction prize. A graduate of NYU’s creative writing program, her greatest pride is for her students at Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.