Rachel Barenbaum biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Rachel Barenbaum
Photo: Alberto Paniagua

Rachel Barenbaum

Rachel Barenbaum Biography

Rachel is a prolific writer and reviewer and her work has appeared in the LA Review of Books, the Tel Aviv Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University and a graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator. She is also the founder of Debut Spotlight and the Debut Editor at A Mighty Blaze.

Rachel Barenbaum's debut, A Bend in the Stars was named a New York Times Summer Reading Selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also a Boston Globe Bestseller. Her second novel is Atomic Anna

In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business and Literature and Philosophy. She lives in Brookline, MA.

Rachel Barenbaum's website

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Interview

Rachel Barenbaum discusses the inspiration behind her second book, Atomic Anna, and the challenges with developing multiple timelines and characters.

What inspired you to write Atomic Anna?

I have always been obsessed with the question: Does intention matter? And I remember thinking about this when I first learned about the Chernobyl disaster, the day I watched the news and began to understand the enormity of the catastrophe. Nuclear power was intended for good, but in Chernobyl's case it ended up killing and destroying the lives of countless people and animals. I remember asking myself, if it was meant for good but ends up killing, is it actually good?

Similarly, I remember teachers introducing the idea of mutually assured destruction in history class and suggesting the arms race was in our best interest. But was it really? Is it really?

When I sat down to write Atomic Anna, I wanted my characters to ask themselves that same question. And I wanted to base it on some reality—but I love writing books with women at the center, so I imagined Chernobyl was run by a woman and came up with Anna first. In my head, she was obsessed with this central question of intention. As I started to write, the story came to life and shifted because Anna's intentions changed over time as she grew and changed. Even more, I realized Anna didn't exist alone. I found myself writing about ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Rachel Barenbaum at BookBrowse
Atomic Anna jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Rachel Barenbaum 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

  • Alina Adams

    Alina Adams

    Alina Adams was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and immigrated with her parents to the U.S. in 1977 at age seven, where she learned English by watching American soap operas at their home in San Francisco.

    Alina is a fiction ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Atomic Anna

    Try:
    The Nesting Dolls
    by Alina Adams

  • Louisa Hall

    Louisa Hall

    Louisa Hall grew up in Philadelphia. After graduating from Harvard, she played squash professionally while finishing her premedical coursework and working in a research lab at the Albert Einstein Hospital. She holds a PhD in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Atomic Anna

    Try:
    Trinity
    by Louisa Hall

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