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Ethan Canin biography

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Ethan Canin
photo: Fred Gerr

Ethan Canin

Ethan Canin Biography

Highly regarded as both a novelist and a short story writer, Ethan Canin has ranged in his career from the short stories of Emperor of the Air to the novellas of The Palace Thief, from the short novel Carry Me Across the Water to the America America. His short stories, which have been the basis for four Hollywood movies, have appeared in a wide range of magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, and Granta, and have been selected for many prize anthologies.

The son of a musician and a public-school art teacher, he spent his childhood in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California before attending Stanford University, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and then Harvard Medical School. He subsequently gave up a career in medicine to write and teach, and is now F. Wendell Miller Professor of English at his alma mater, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he has been privileged to teach a great number of talented new writers. In his spare time he is very slowly remodeling two old houses, one in the woods of northern Michigan and the other in Iowa City, where he lives with his wife, their three children, and four chickens.

Ethan Canin's website

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Interview

Ethan Canin discusses America America, which is set in the modern day and in a small town during the Nixon era - a story about America and family, politics and tragedy, and the impact of fate on a young man's life.

Random House Reader's Circle: America America is an ambitious novel that embraces the great themes of politics, power, family, class, integrity and love; even the title suggests we are in for a monumental read. How did this novel begin for you personally, and what does it represent for you as a move in your own life as a writer?

Ethan Canin: America America began for me as a smaller idea. Originally, it was only the story of Corey Sifter, a working-class boy, who falls in love with Christian Metarey, an aristocratic girl. I'd written about 250 pages of that novel when the attacks occurred on September 11, 2001; and that morning, as it turned out, was the last time I wrote fiction for close to two years. I put the novel aside and didn't pick it up again until 2003. And when I began writing again I found myself much more urgently involved with history and politics and the nature of power. A senator made his way into the story, then a presidential campaign. The novel's evolution began to reflect my own, and that of many others who on that day became more serious about the world. 


RHRC: Many ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Ethan Canin at BookBrowse
A Doubter's Almanac jacket America America jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Ethan Canin but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Jane Hamilton

    Jane Hamilton

    Jane Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Rochester, Wisconsin. She is the author of five novels. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award for best first novel and was a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    America America

    Try:
    Disobedience
    by Jane Hamilton

  • Adam Haslett

    Adam Haslett

    Adam Haslett is the author of the short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here and the novel Union Atlantic. His story collection was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, and his books have been ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Doubter's Almanac

    Try:
    Imagine Me Gone
    by Adam Haslett

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