WORDS BY ISABELLE WATTENBERG
Curtis Sittenfeld considers her writing to be a form of anthropology. The Minneapolis-based, The New York Times bestselling author follows her complex characters through imperfect worlds, scribing their antics and actions, revealing a glimpse into the social trends that puppeteer us through life. Her beloved bibliography includes a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice called Rodham, a novel that considers an alternate career path for Hillary Rodham Clinton, and many more.
This month, Magers & Quinn welcomes Sittenfeld to the Parkway Theater to read from her latest adventure Romantic Comedy, a novel that aims both to gently tease and also satisfy the dream of the rom-com genre.
In Romantic Comedy, the lens settles on a late-night sketch show comedy who has eschewed romance for herself. Instead it provides fodder for her show material, such as a skit that identifies and parodies the phenomenon that unremarkable men attract remarkable women, but never vice versa. Suddenly she finds herself enmeshed in a test of that rule–hilarity ensues, along with questions about gender roles and romantic stereotypes.
“With her last novel, Rodham, published in the early days of the Covid pandemic, it’s so exciting to be able to gather and celebrate in person,” says Annie Metcalf, marketing and events coordinator with Magers & Quinn. “I also think that the hook of this novel…will pique the interest of readers new to Sittenfeld’s work. People who read more of the actual romance genre will be charmed by the novel’s setup and examination of the rom-com form, and fans of SNL and pop culture will be intrigued by the plot’s reflection and interrogation of recent trends.”
Sittenfeld will be joined by local author Julie Schumacher, professor of creative writing and English at the University of Minnesota and author of her own satirical book, Dear Committee Members, which explores the tragedy and comedy of the academic recommendation letter.
“With the title of Curtis’s new book being Romantic Comedy, we knew we wanted a conversation partner who could highlight the many ways comedy informs the novel,” says Metcalf. “Julie is not only a great novelist in her own right but also a professor of creative writing. I always love having an interviewer who can get into more technical discussions of craft but keep it accessible to the audience, which Julie is great at.”
WHEN YOU GO
7 PM, Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Mpls.
$41 advance admission + book // $51 at the door
$15 advance admission (no book) // $21 at the door