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Carol Zoref Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Barren Island (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Carol Zoref

Coming from New York, the American writer Carol Zoref is currently making waves throughout the literary industry, all thanks to her unique and precise style of writing. Communicating in a tone that is direct and to the point, she really manages to convey her message effectively and concisely almost straight away. This has seen her go on to receive numerous plaudits and acclaim, not just from the critical establishment, but the general public as well.

Seeing her as a bold new voice, she really has managed to carve a niche for herself that is quite unlike any other to date. Knowing precisely what it is that she wants to say, she writes from a place that is extremely personal to her, creating an almost intimate sense of pacing. Using fiction as a method of getting across her ideas, she really manages to evoke a number of emotions, something which she will be doing for a long time yet.

Early and Personal Life

Growing up harnessing a keen sense of who she was and her own roots as a writer, Carol Zoref would embark on a career that would harness her love of the written word. Becoming a writer, she would continually develop her voice throughout the years, building on it and refining it, creating the style for which she’d become most famous for. This would continue throughout her education and on into her working life too, in time establishing her as a writer with something definitive to say.

Gaining a B.A. Liberal Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, along with an M.F.A. in fiction writing, she would gain the background that she needed to carry on. This would provide her with an academic understanding of the craft, giving her a clear insight into her own processes as a writer. She would later on continue to nurture this skill-set, building upon her wealth of materials as a writer and novelist of fiction.

Later she would also go on to teach writing fiction herself, becoming a member of the Gallatin faculty, working on their Advanced Writing Program there. She would start this in 2001, before going on to gain various fellowships and grants from such places as the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, along with In Our Own Write. These would all accumulate, leading to her transforming into one of the most successful practitioners and spokespeople of her craft, something which she still maintains to this very day.

Writing Career

It would be in 2016 that Carol Zoref would write her first stand-alone novel titled Barren Island, which would be an entirely self-contained book. Not writing any series as such, Zoref would opt to focus on singular stories using concise methods for conveying her message and ideas. Creating authentic characters in realistic settings, she would manage to build stories that truly resonated with her readers, regardless of where they came from.

Over the years she would come to focus largely on writing fiction and essays, concentrating literature throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. This would also come to include various other visual narratives, along with photography, as these would be involved in her research as well. Over time this has gone back into her writing, thus lending it a far more visceral style, one that’s vibrant and vivid in its descriptions.

Previously her work has also been featured within many different publications as well, including the ‘Christian Science Monitor’ and ‘The New York Times’ as well. Alongside this she has also won an A.W.P. Award for her debut novel Barren Island, definitely marking her out as a talent to watch in the years to come. Coupled with her grants and her past work, she is rapidly becoming a highly prolific writer, with a lot to follow in the years to come.

Barren Island

Originally published in 2016, this was the first novel to come from Carol Zoref as an author, marking her big debut as a writer. Setting up a lot of the themes and ideas which was the primary focus of a lot of her work, it was well realized with an articulate and inventive narrative. It would use elements of magical-realism, whilst also simultaneously being grounded in reality, telling a very real and very human story.

Using a somewhat darkened tone with a series of metaphorical underpinnings to anchor the story, this novel looks at a series of difficult subjects. Zoref casts an eye on her history, including her own, as she seeks to uncover some deeper more profound ideas and concepts. These range from the existence of god, to where humanity comes into such a tragic landscape and how people find themselves. The way in which she has used the setting to reflect these themes and ideas is also something to be admired as well, in what is an effective and compelling debut.

Told from the perspective of one Marta Eisenstein Lane, this sees her recounting the story and history of Barren Island on her 80th birthday. Taking place in Jamaica Bay, New York, the setting is a factory island, whereby the dead horses, along with other large animals, are taken from the city to be rendered into fertilizer and glue. Taking place from the mid-19th century all the way in to the 1930s, it sees the world through the eyes of the diverse community that live and work there. Following a Jewish family who have immigrated from Eastern Europe, it sees the Eisensteins as they deal with the social and political upheaval of the 1930s there, along with the rise of Nazi party back in Germany. Looking at the political and social landscape within the context of the time, it seeks to answer a series of profound and philosophical questions, with the heart of it being set in Barren Island.

Fiction and Essay Writing

Prior to writing and publishing her debut novel, Carol Zoref would also write numerous essays as well, alongside her fictional work. This is been run in conjunction with her career as a lecturer and tutor of fictional writing, giving her a more than comprehensive background in the subject. With this in mind, it now appears that she definitely has a lot more to come, as she will continue to write for a long time yet.

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