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Alexis Schaitkin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Alexis Schaitkin
Author Alexis Schaitkin’s essays and short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The New York Times, Southwest Review, and other places. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and The Best American Short Stories.

Her way into reading was through poetry, having enjoyed “Joyful Noise” by Paul Fleischman as well the small poems by Valerie Worth.

As a little kid, she was into aesthetic books that have a sense of mystery and magic. Some of her favorites “Fox’s Dream” by Keizaburo Tejima, “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs, “Grandfather Twilight” by Barbara Berger, and “Tar Beach” by Faith Ringgold. Later on, she read them to her young daughter and she is amazed by how these elliptical tales pull a young child in.

The first thing she remembers writing is a cookbook she wrote with a friend when she was seven. There was a recipe included for raspberry soup.

Alexis lives in a small town with a tiny cafe, where she writes just about each and every day. She has tried very hard to be somebody that is able to work at home. She has a desk that she stained herself, so she would use it and love it. Up above the desk, is a corkboard covered with some inspirational index cards for the next book. None of these things helps, as she winds up at the cafe. She finds a lot of comfort in doing the solitary work of writing while surrounded by other people.

While she was a young reader, she enjoyed “Fog Magic”, “Tuck Everlasting”, and novels by Ruth Chew. A lot of it is atmosphere and mystery. She seems to have always enjoyed being unsettled. During middle school, her world was rocked by “Rebecca”.

She believes some of these earlier reading attractions can be seen in “Saint X”. In the ways that Alison is still haunting the people that knew her, and in the atmosphere of the ceaseless winter Clive and Claire spend with each other.

There is a clear connection to an interest in tourism in “Saint X”, which has been a preoccupation of hers. While in Chiang Mai, she worked mainly in a hospitality school, teaching English to kids who were getting ready for jobs as tour guids and hotels. Once she spent a summer working at some tourist attraction, working as a gardner at the Monet Gardens Giverny, France.

It was an experience that brought her behind the scenes of a place that was designed to be a sort of virtual paradise. These experiences contributed to her interest in looking at, and under the surface of, spaces created for the gaze of a tourist.

She finds that short stories feature a world that continues on, and being the reader are being nudged back out. On the other hand, what makes a novel so satisfying is the sense of recurrence, cycling back, the characters coming back, some unexpected patterns emerging over time.

Alexis finds that if she is not reading something, she quickly forgets how to coherently write a sentence. She does tend to stick to books that are pretty similar tonally to the book she is writing, since it is hard to write something totally different from what she is reading.

She enjoys reading something that shifts under her feet, one that, right when she believes she knows what it is, it winds up surprising her. That is a bit of what she was going for with “Saint X”. It sets up the mystery of a character’s death, but she hopes the reader soon figures out the book is less interested in the answers surrounding her death than the fallout for these characters.

Sugar is something she needs to write with. Her dream writing spot is a cafe with pick and mix candy on the premises.

Alexis got her MFA from the University of Virginia in fiction, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow.

Alexis’ debut novel, called “Saint X”, was released in the year 2020. IT was listed on many most anticipated novels lists. Her work is from the mystery genre.

“Saint X” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. Who do you become after you lose the one person that is most essential to you?

Claire is just seven years old when Alison, her college-age sister, vanishes on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Days later, Alison’s body is discovered in an isolated spot on a closeby cay, and two of the local men, who work at the resort, get arrested. The evidence is slim, however, and the evidence points against it, and the guys get released quickly. The story becomes national tabloid news, and is a lurid mystery sure to go unsolved. There is only the return home to some broken lives for both Claire and her parents.

Some years later, Claire works and lives in New York City when a short yet fateful encounter brings her with Clive Richardson, one of the guys originally suspected of killing her sister. It is a moment that sets her on an obsessive pursuit to find the truth. Not just to find out what happened the night Alison died but to answer that one elusive question: who was her sister precisely? At the age of seven, Claire was barely old enough to know her. A changeable, beautiful, and provocative girl of just eighteen at a turbulent time of identity formation.

While Claire shadows Clive doggedly, hoping she will gain his trust, and get the slip that is sure to reveal the truth, there is an unlikely attachment that develops between both of them. Two people whose lives were marked by the same tragedy forever.

Alexis delivers a haunting portrait of obsession, grief, and the bond between two sisters who never had the chance to know each other. This novel is socially conscious and brilliant. These are characters who are both intelligent and distinctive that it feels both easy as well as necessary to follow them around.

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