Mary Doria Russell biography

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Mary Doria Russell
© Dina Rossi

Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell Biography

Mary Doria Russell was born in suburban Chicago in 1950. Her mother was a Navy nurse and her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant. She and her younger brother, Richard, consequently developed a dismaying vocabulary at an early age. She learned discretion at Sacred Heart Catholic elementary school; how to diagram sentences at Glenbard East High; cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois; social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston; and biological anthropology at the University of Michigan.

Mary and Don Russell have been happily married for an unusually high percentage of the years since 1970. Don is a software engineer and one of the founders of AllTech Medical Systems, which designs and manufactures medical imaging equipment for the Chinese domestic market. They have one adult son, Daniel. They live in Cleveland.

From the author's website

Mary Doria Russell's website

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Interview

Mary Doria Russell talks about her extraordinary novel, The Thread of Grace.

I am a big fan of your novels. What took so long for a new one?
I've become a dues-paying member of the sandwich generation while writing this book. Like many Baby Boomers, I'm helping elderly and infirm relatives through illnesses and bereavement, just as my teenage son is learning to drive, starting to date, getting his heart broken, applying for summer jobs and college. My own health did a power-dive, and that episode took a two-year chunk out of my life. Thank God, my husband has been healthy all this time, so the household has run fairly smoothly!

Even without all that, A Thread of Grace would have been a bear. None of the characters are American, and the story is set in World War II Italy, so I am not drawing on my own language, culture or personal experiences at all. A dear friend advised me to finesse the issue: "Just have everyone say Ciao a lot and eat pasta!" But WWII is living memory and a topic of lively scholarly interest. There will be plenty of reviewers and readers who'll notice mistakes. And I feel a great responsibility to the people who entrusted their memories and personal stories to me. So I've tried to get every miserable little detail right, ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Mary Doria Russell at BookBrowse
Epitaph jacket Doc jacket Dreamers of the Day jacket A Thread of Grace jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Mary Doria Russell 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

  • Ramona Ausubel

    Ramona Ausubel

    Ramona Ausubel grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, The Best American Fantasy and elsewhere and has received special mentions in The Best American Short... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Thread of Grace

    Try:
    No One is Here Except All of Us
    by Ramona Ausubel

  • David Benioff

    David Benioff

    David Benioff (born David Friedman but changed his name to take his mother's maiden name) was born and raised in New York City and attended Dartmouth College and the University of California at Irvine. His father, Stephen ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Thread of Grace

    Try:
    City of Thieves
    by David Benioff

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