Jane Hamilton's Dark Comedy

The offbeat heroine in Laura Rider’s Masterpiece is the kind of woman who imagines herself in a satin gown and sitting on the dais at a romance writer’s conference, when she’s neither published, nor even done with her novel. With that masterpiece in her sights, she endlessly meddles in her own marriage and others’ lives to produce dramatic episodes to mine for her book. Yes, it’s a bit pathetic and a little twisted, but for the reader it’s a lot funny and very entertaining. Author Jane Hamilton told us that her inspiration for this story emerged from the depression that rolled in after being trapped on a surreal cruise where she was hired to teach a gaggle of would-be writers, more focused on finding a publisher than honing their craft. Looks like she found her silver lining. This is actually the most comedic effort to date from Hamilton, whose previous books The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World were Oprah’s Book Club selections, and we think the darkly funny tone makes this the perfect beach read. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

"Laura Rider's Masterpiece"

by Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton's Dark Comedy

The offbeat heroine in Laura Rider’s Masterpiece is the kind of woman who imagines herself in a satin gown and sitting on the dais at a romance writer’s conference, when she’s neither published, nor even done with her novel. With that masterpiece in her sights, she endlessly meddles in her own marriage and others’ lives to produce dramatic episodes to mine for her book. Yes, it’s a bit pathetic and a little twisted, but for the reader it’s a lot funny and very entertaining. Author Jane Hamilton told us that her inspiration for this story emerged from the depression that rolled in after being trapped on a surreal cruise where she was hired to teach a gaggle of would-be writers, more focused on finding a publisher than honing their craft. Looks like she found her silver lining. This is actually the most comedic effort to date from Hamilton, whose previous books The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World were Oprah’s Book Club selections, and we think the darkly funny tone makes this the perfect beach read. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Jane
    Jane

    A few days ago I visited the Daily Grommet office to sit in the sun on the back porch and talk with Jules about writing and my new book. I hope you will enjoy reading about Laura, Charlie and Jenna in Laura Rider's Masterpiece .

    I love to write, and began writing only for myself, and in a deep privacy. That I have been able to spend my adult life living other people’s lives has been a great privilege and a luxury. People sometimes ask me what my goals are. Goals? I want to keep writing books, and I want there always to be a world in which people read books.

    I'll be checking in here and I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions about my books, writing, or that cruise ship I mention in the video. Enjoy the weekend.

  • Sandy
    Sandy
    4/17/2009 12:11 PM

    I have not read any of her books yet, but this looks amazing. I love to read because a good book takes me to another place.

    My question for the author Jane- what do you do to get you out of the writing ruts-do you read other books or do you sleep or sit down and wath a good movie, or something else?

  • Katie
    Katie
    4/17/2009 12:13 PM

    I have ALWAYS been a huge reader and before my son was born I used to spend most weekends with a book in my hands from sun up to sun down! I find great pleasure in finding a new author i have not read before and would LOVE to give Jane's book a read :)

  • Baba
    Baba
    4/17/2009 12:18 PM

    Sounds fabulous! I would love to have a copy.

  • Tammy OHagan
    Tammy OHagan
    4/17/2009 12:35 PM

    I'd like to know where you get your inspirations for what you write.

  • Heather M
    Heather M
    4/17/2009 1:00 PM

    Sounds great!! I'd love to win a copy!

  • K. Cleaver
    K. Cleaver
    4/17/2009 1:06 PM

    I'd love to read this!

  • Ruth Bousquet
    Ruth Bousquet
    4/17/2009 1:38 PM

    Sounds great to me.

  • Melissa
    Melissa
    4/17/2009 2:08 PM

    I really enjoyed Map of the World, which I read years ago. Always looking for a good new book. Jane, wondering which of your books was the most challenging to write?

  • Nancy
    Nancy
    4/17/2009 2:10 PM

    I haven't read Jane's books yet, but I'm a huge fan of humor when I read! I've been reading too many emotional dramas and autobiographies lately. It's time for a good book and a good laugh!

  • Judy
    Judy
    4/17/2009 2:33 PM

    Sounds like a fun read.

  • janeh
    janeh
    4/17/2009 3:02 PM

    I agree with you, Jane......a world where people didn't read books is unimaginable to me......how wonderful it must be for you to do what you love and have others enjoy and love your work as well.......

  • Elizabeth McCullough
    Elizabeth McCullough
    4/17/2009 3:05 PM

    Really enjoyed A Map of the World -- looking forward to this new one.

  • Diane LaRue
    Diane LaRue
    4/17/2009 3:11 PM

    I love Jane Hamilton! Map of the World was so heartbreaking. Please enter me to win.

  • suzanne
    suzanne
    4/17/2009 3:20 PM

    Map of the World is one of my favorites. And the jacket on this new one is so very eye-catching and perfect. I can't wait to read it.

  • Connie
    Connie
    4/17/2009 4:01 PM

    I feel like I'm one of Jane's neighbors, living in rural ND. Look forward to reading any books about rural lifestyles.

  • Jilian
    Jilian
    4/17/2009 4:47 PM

    I love to read and a resolution for me this year is to make more time in my life to curl up with a good book! I'll be adding these 3 books to my 'must read' list!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/17/2009 6:05 PM

    @Sue Farrell I hope someday people say what you said about Oprah about us..."If Daily Grommet recommended this, it should be good." In this case, and this book, I can guarantee an engaging read. I devoured the book, and the characters stick with me. In the video I refer to a very memorable character, "Jenna Faroli"....she's a local public radio celebrity in the book, in her little Wisconsin town. That's why I asked Jane if she was a "Jenna Faroli" in her little Wisconsin town.

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    4/17/2009 6:27 PM

    Hi everyone! We have our winner for the book giveaway, but even better -- Jane will be stopping by Daily Grommet Saturday evening to read your comments and answer questions! So keep the great comments and questions coming.

  • Jana
    Jana
    4/18/2009 8:55 AM

    Jane, what's the best book you've read in the past few months?

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    4/18/2009 1:50 PM

    Hi Jane, I loved your book Map of the World and your portrayal of Alice. She is so human, especially how she relates to her daughter's manic tantrums (love that initial scene when Alice loses it with Emma and, completely stressed out, grabs the family cat and mimicks strangling it while her husband calmly watches and says he'll be in to help in a moment.). You have that rare combination of unjudging wisdom and a keen sense of humor. Look forward to this new book. btw, what authors have influenced your writing?

  • Daniel
    Daniel
    4/18/2009 3:41 PM

    Jane, I loved when you said "They didn't want to write -- they wanted to be published!" That's funny and I understand just what you mean!

    "Laura Rider's Masterpice" is going to be available for the Kindle. I don't know when, but I'll buy it then. It sounds like a lot of fun!

    Speaking of unique unusual female main characters, have you ever read "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons? It's a unique book with its very own weird but hilarious sense of humor.

    Jules, did I hear you say "the back stoop"? I've always been told that only those of us from New York used the noun "stoop", which is from the Dutch "stoep". You don't sounds like you're from New York. (On the other hand, neither do I.)

  • Jane Hamilton
    Jane Hamilton
    4/18/2009 4:28 PM

    Thanks to all of you for writing in. It was a back stoop for the interview -- I'll vouch for that back stoop!

    Sandy asked about writing ruts. Do you mean what do I do when I'm blocked, when I don't have anything to say? I think it's important to show up for work every day, but it's also important to take a nap if your brain isn't firing, and if the work isn't going well it's important to ask why. Is your writing boring you? If it is, why? Are you running on empty? Then read a great book or listen to music, or go to the movies, or take a walk. I worked on a book that was no good, a real clunker, for four years. But I made it the best failure I could make it. And then, I put it away forever!

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/18/2009 4:35 PM

    And, a few more things...What's the best book I've read in awhile?? Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. It's funny and poignant and sad and it made me laugh out loud, and I couldn't put it down, and it made me deeply happy.

    Sara asks what writers have influenced my writing? I go back to Willa Cather often because she describes the natural world so effortlessly and so sensually -- so that you feel you are right there on the prairie with her. And she writes as if she's looking down from a great height at her people, she doesn't judge, she sees everything, and she is filled with compassion for them.

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/18/2009 4:38 PM

    And one or two more things! Yes, isn't the jacket funny and wonderful? When I saw it I flipped.

    I think A Map of the World was in some ways the most challenging because it took me several years to figure out the plot. I was floundering around for the longest time, but I couldn't give up on Alice Goodwin -- I had to get her out of her mess. But each book has it's own challenges, and nothing that comes before has helped me to do the thing I'm working on. It's an unusual profession in that way....

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    4/18/2009 11:12 PM

    Jane, its Sara again... I am glad you didn't give up on Alice. Her story resonates. I bet there are a few moms (me included) out there who have felt like strangling the cat as a stress relief!! You are a wonderful writer,.... very much like Willa Cather.

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/19/2009 10:54 AM

    And....I went to the grommet office. You know how it's the recession and no one's buying anything, and I don't even want any more stuff at all, and I want to get rid of all the garbage I got when there was money floating around, and Christmas was an orgy? So, I walk into this clapboard house in Lexington, MA, (before I went out to the back stoop), and there were shelves of interesting objets, and it made me want to shop. I don't even like to shop. Those soap nuts for washing your clothes? The baskets made by the woman of, I think, the Sudan? Everything was groovy. THANKS to all of you who wrote in. Cheers, jh

  • claudia
    claudia
    4/19/2009 11:14 AM

    Just ordered this, and looking forward to reading it!

    I am always on the lookout for a good book with humor!

  • Tammy OHagan
    Tammy OHagan
    5/5/2009 10:27 AM

    Not sure if my emails are getting through... trying to verify my address for the book win. Please let me know if you received my last email with my nameand mailing address.

    Thank you

    Tammy OHagan

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    5/28/2009 6:17 PM

    Tammy, hope you are enjoying the book! Let us know what you think about it. :)

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

"Laura Rider's Masterpiece"

by Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton's Dark Comedy

The offbeat heroine in Laura Rider’s Masterpiece is the kind of woman who imagines herself in a satin gown and sitting on the dais at a romance writer’s conference, when she’s neither published, nor even done with her novel. With that masterpiece in her sights, she endlessly meddles in her own marriage and others’ lives to produce dramatic episodes to mine for her book. Yes, it’s a bit pathetic and a little twisted, but for the reader it’s a lot funny and very entertaining.

Author Jane Hamilton told us that her
inspiration for this story emerged from the depression that rolled in after being trapped on a surreal cruise where she was hired to teach a gaggle of would-be writers, more focused on finding a publisher than honing their craft. Looks like she found her silver lining.

This is actually the most comedic effort to date from Hamilton, whose previous books The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World were Oprah’s Book Club selections, and we think the darkly funny tone makes this the perfect beach read. Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Read More Read Less
No longer available

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Jane
    Jane

    A few days ago I visited the Daily Grommet office to sit in the sun on the back porch and talk with Jules about writing and my new book. I hope you will enjoy reading about Laura, Charlie and Jenna in Laura Rider's Masterpiece .

    I love to write, and began writing only for myself, and in a deep privacy. That I have been able to spend my adult life living other people’s lives has been a great privilege and a luxury. People sometimes ask me what my goals are. Goals? I want to keep writing books, and I want there always to be a world in which people read books.

    I'll be checking in here and I look forward to reading your comments and answering your questions about my books, writing, or that cruise ship I mention in the video. Enjoy the weekend.

  • Sandy
    Sandy
    4/17/2009 12:11 PM

    I have not read any of her books yet, but this looks amazing. I love to read because a good book takes me to another place.

    My question for the author Jane- what do you do to get you out of the writing ruts-do you read other books or do you sleep or sit down and wath a good movie, or something else?

  • Katie
    Katie
    4/17/2009 12:13 PM

    I have ALWAYS been a huge reader and before my son was born I used to spend most weekends with a book in my hands from sun up to sun down! I find great pleasure in finding a new author i have not read before and would LOVE to give Jane's book a read :)

  • Baba
    Baba
    4/17/2009 12:18 PM

    Sounds fabulous! I would love to have a copy.

  • Tammy OHagan
    Tammy OHagan
    4/17/2009 12:35 PM

    I'd like to know where you get your inspirations for what you write.

  • Heather M
    Heather M
    4/17/2009 1:00 PM

    Sounds great!! I'd love to win a copy!

  • K. Cleaver
    K. Cleaver
    4/17/2009 1:06 PM

    I'd love to read this!

  • Ruth Bousquet
    Ruth Bousquet
    4/17/2009 1:38 PM

    Sounds great to me.

  • Melissa
    Melissa
    4/17/2009 2:08 PM

    I really enjoyed Map of the World, which I read years ago. Always looking for a good new book. Jane, wondering which of your books was the most challenging to write?

  • Nancy
    Nancy
    4/17/2009 2:10 PM

    I haven't read Jane's books yet, but I'm a huge fan of humor when I read! I've been reading too many emotional dramas and autobiographies lately. It's time for a good book and a good laugh!

  • Judy
    Judy
    4/17/2009 2:33 PM

    Sounds like a fun read.

  • janeh
    janeh
    4/17/2009 3:02 PM

    I agree with you, Jane......a world where people didn't read books is unimaginable to me......how wonderful it must be for you to do what you love and have others enjoy and love your work as well.......

  • Elizabeth McCullough
    Elizabeth McCullough
    4/17/2009 3:05 PM

    Really enjoyed A Map of the World -- looking forward to this new one.

  • Diane LaRue
    Diane LaRue
    4/17/2009 3:11 PM

    I love Jane Hamilton! Map of the World was so heartbreaking. Please enter me to win.

  • suzanne
    suzanne
    4/17/2009 3:20 PM

    Map of the World is one of my favorites. And the jacket on this new one is so very eye-catching and perfect. I can't wait to read it.

  • Connie
    Connie
    4/17/2009 4:01 PM

    I feel like I'm one of Jane's neighbors, living in rural ND. Look forward to reading any books about rural lifestyles.

  • Jilian
    Jilian
    4/17/2009 4:47 PM

    I love to read and a resolution for me this year is to make more time in my life to curl up with a good book! I'll be adding these 3 books to my 'must read' list!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/17/2009 6:05 PM

    @Sue Farrell I hope someday people say what you said about Oprah about us..."If Daily Grommet recommended this, it should be good." In this case, and this book, I can guarantee an engaging read. I devoured the book, and the characters stick with me. In the video I refer to a very memorable character, "Jenna Faroli"....she's a local public radio celebrity in the book, in her little Wisconsin town. That's why I asked Jane if she was a "Jenna Faroli" in her little Wisconsin town.

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    4/17/2009 6:27 PM

    Hi everyone! We have our winner for the book giveaway, but even better -- Jane will be stopping by Daily Grommet Saturday evening to read your comments and answer questions! So keep the great comments and questions coming.

  • Jana
    Jana
    4/18/2009 8:55 AM

    Jane, what's the best book you've read in the past few months?

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    4/18/2009 1:50 PM

    Hi Jane, I loved your book Map of the World and your portrayal of Alice. She is so human, especially how she relates to her daughter's manic tantrums (love that initial scene when Alice loses it with Emma and, completely stressed out, grabs the family cat and mimicks strangling it while her husband calmly watches and says he'll be in to help in a moment.). You have that rare combination of unjudging wisdom and a keen sense of humor. Look forward to this new book. btw, what authors have influenced your writing?

  • Daniel
    Daniel
    4/18/2009 3:41 PM

    Jane, I loved when you said "They didn't want to write -- they wanted to be published!" That's funny and I understand just what you mean!

    "Laura Rider's Masterpice" is going to be available for the Kindle. I don't know when, but I'll buy it then. It sounds like a lot of fun!

    Speaking of unique unusual female main characters, have you ever read "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons? It's a unique book with its very own weird but hilarious sense of humor.

    Jules, did I hear you say "the back stoop"? I've always been told that only those of us from New York used the noun "stoop", which is from the Dutch "stoep". You don't sounds like you're from New York. (On the other hand, neither do I.)

  • Jane Hamilton
    Jane Hamilton
    4/18/2009 4:28 PM

    Thanks to all of you for writing in. It was a back stoop for the interview -- I'll vouch for that back stoop!

    Sandy asked about writing ruts. Do you mean what do I do when I'm blocked, when I don't have anything to say? I think it's important to show up for work every day, but it's also important to take a nap if your brain isn't firing, and if the work isn't going well it's important to ask why. Is your writing boring you? If it is, why? Are you running on empty? Then read a great book or listen to music, or go to the movies, or take a walk. I worked on a book that was no good, a real clunker, for four years. But I made it the best failure I could make it. And then, I put it away forever!

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/18/2009 4:35 PM

    And, a few more things...What's the best book I've read in awhile?? Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. It's funny and poignant and sad and it made me laugh out loud, and I couldn't put it down, and it made me deeply happy.

    Sara asks what writers have influenced my writing? I go back to Willa Cather often because she describes the natural world so effortlessly and so sensually -- so that you feel you are right there on the prairie with her. And she writes as if she's looking down from a great height at her people, she doesn't judge, she sees everything, and she is filled with compassion for them.

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/18/2009 4:38 PM

    And one or two more things! Yes, isn't the jacket funny and wonderful? When I saw it I flipped.

    I think A Map of the World was in some ways the most challenging because it took me several years to figure out the plot. I was floundering around for the longest time, but I couldn't give up on Alice Goodwin -- I had to get her out of her mess. But each book has it's own challenges, and nothing that comes before has helped me to do the thing I'm working on. It's an unusual profession in that way....

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    4/18/2009 11:12 PM

    Jane, its Sara again... I am glad you didn't give up on Alice. Her story resonates. I bet there are a few moms (me included) out there who have felt like strangling the cat as a stress relief!! You are a wonderful writer,.... very much like Willa Cather.

  • Jane
    Jane – Special Guest
    4/19/2009 10:54 AM

    And....I went to the grommet office. You know how it's the recession and no one's buying anything, and I don't even want any more stuff at all, and I want to get rid of all the garbage I got when there was money floating around, and Christmas was an orgy? So, I walk into this clapboard house in Lexington, MA, (before I went out to the back stoop), and there were shelves of interesting objets, and it made me want to shop. I don't even like to shop. Those soap nuts for washing your clothes? The baskets made by the woman of, I think, the Sudan? Everything was groovy. THANKS to all of you who wrote in. Cheers, jh

  • claudia
    claudia
    4/19/2009 11:14 AM

    Just ordered this, and looking forward to reading it!

    I am always on the lookout for a good book with humor!

  • Tammy OHagan
    Tammy OHagan
    5/5/2009 10:27 AM

    Not sure if my emails are getting through... trying to verify my address for the book win. Please let me know if you received my last email with my nameand mailing address.

    Thank you

    Tammy OHagan

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    5/28/2009 6:17 PM

    Tammy, hope you are enjoying the book! Let us know what you think about it. :)

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.