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AuthorAnna Quindlen
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Posted Aug 26, 2014
Category: Fiction
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Synopsis

Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.

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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1168 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Welcome Anna Quindlen! We are thrilled to have you join us to discuss your latest novel, STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS!
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1161 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Thanks, Julie. I am digging out from the paperback tour--two weeks on the road, and a lot piles up at home--but will be back here tomorrow to answer questions and read comments.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1161 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Great, thanks! Looking forward to it.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Fred wrote 1161 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    I am only half way through your book and rooting for Rebecca to find happiness and solvency. What has captivated me, as a most recent dog lover, is your empathy, understanding and articulation of the dog whose name I do not know yet. It is so dear.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Fred wrote 1161 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    This is Fred's wife Joanne. I must confess that after reading this book I immediately sought out your autobiography - You know Rebecca so well...just how much of her is you?
     
       
     
     
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  •  Jane_Beddall wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I have much the same question as Joanne has -- are the detailed descriptions of treasured items and people based on personal experience or research or a bit of both? (BTW, you spoke, beautifully, at Salisbury School some years ago, when my husband taught English there. My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting you and your daughter.)
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    Joanne again.... I'm an artist and have just completed my 6th decade. Of course I identified with Rebecca! I am hoping that some day you write championing women in their 70's....
     
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  •  Fred wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I am intrigued by your description of Rebecca's eroded "Fame". I do not believe this is based upon your personal experience. Thus, how might you have conjured it up?
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Welcome again Anna. I've been reading your work, in one form or another for quite some time now. I will never forget your book, "One True Thing" - and how it made me reflect on my relationship with my mother. This book, Still Life With Bread Crumbs, impacted me in another way: I relished learning how Rebecca, a talented, creative person, adapted to challenges in her life in a graceful and meaningful way. I would imagine that this book has inspired women of all ages - to address whatever their challenges they are facing - have you heard feedback like that?
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    Hi Anna! Thank you for joining us. Are you working on a new book currently?
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    This book also inspires the reader to appreciate nature and simpler pleasures in life. Was that part of your intent in writing it? What else do you hope readers take away from your novel?
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    The question of the role of personal experience in fiction is interesting to me. I think most of us write a highly autobiographical first novel; I know I did. But with each successive book I've moved farther and farther from my own life and experience. Nevertheless it's a slice-and-dice process. There's some of me in every character. I haven't experienced Rebecca's downward slide, but I can certainly imagine it.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    And, yes, I've heard from many women about the concept of reinvention in the novel. Women of my age--I'm 62--seem to particularly resonate to that, but because the lives of women change so much as their personal and professional lives do, I've heard it from women across the board.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I'm actually more interested in what readers take from my work than what my original intent was. Obviously Rebecca learns to take pleasure in the ordinary things of the natural world, and that's something that was easy for me to conjure. But one of the best things about hearing from readers is that they have insights that enlarge your understanding of your own work, and even sometimes teach you something about it you didn't quite get yourself.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    BTW, Fred, writing the dog was one of my favorite parts of this novel. And I didn't even see him coming until I was about halfway in! It's always the middle that's mysterious to the writer.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    Hi Anna, Mimi here. I am unashamedly a big fan. I have read all of your books and ESP. Enjoyed Still Life. What was your inspiration to write this particular novel? Is there any chance it would be made into a movie? If so, who would you cast for your main character?

    .Meryl Streep?
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Thanks for joining us today. I enjoyed the book and the many themes. Currently am dealing with my dad who is failing and being moved to a rehab/nursing home. Was hard to read those sections.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Personally I started my career in the art world in Soho no less, the section with the photography opening in Brooklyn - by passing Chelsea - was fun to read. Kind of focuses how quickly NY changes - it's a counter point to Rebecca changing and ending up leaving NY
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I'm always interested in art and agree so much of success in art can be attributed to luck, chance...
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Who would you envision playing your characters in the movie version?
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    The current plan for Still Life is that it will be a TV series on a cable channel. The screenwriter who wrote One True Thing, Karen Croner, whom I love, has written the pilot. We'll see what happens. I have had nothing but good experiences when my books were translated to film or TV. And I've already had Meryl once, with OTT, so I can't be greedy.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I always like to think that I've made the characters and their personalities so clear in the novel that playing them will be fairly straightforward. When Meryl was Kate Gulden, for example, or Mary Stuart Masterson was Fran Flynn, they were just exactly as I'd imagined them. On the other hand, seeing the people you've created on paper translated into three dimensions is always pretty thrilling.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    The real meaning of the crosses took me by surprise - suicide is such a severe problem in this country.. I have lost a few friend to suicide years ago. I've donated to The Samaritans for years.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    My friend Kerry Kohansky Roberts is involved in the TV project, I believe.
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    It took me a bit by surprise as well. I had had a vivid visual of them in my mind even when I began the book, but I thought they were about something entirely different until I got farther into the story. I wish we could have used the photographs somehow in the book but perhaps best to let the reader imagine them.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I took to heart Jim's reaction to Rebecca's use of her Crosses photographs. It was such an honest reaction. I think that's what makes your work so great - nothing seems contrived. It's all so real and imaginable.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I like the idea of imagining the photos on my own - it adds to the mystery I believe. If you had used actual photos not sure how my reaction would have been...
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction better? Who is your favorite author?
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Jim is a stand-in for the sane person who hasn't been sucked into all the nonsense in the art world. And by the art world I don't just mean the plastic arts, but all artistic pursuits. Sometimes when I read literary criticism I am astonished by how someone with a keen intelligence and way too much propensity for tortured syntax and polysyllables has turned something that is a visceral pleasure to me into a butterfly pinned to a board. Jim sees what's there, as opposed to what he's been taught to imagine is there.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    BTW As an interior designer I laughed at the thought of the wealthy Russian running around with her decorator choosing art....my background is in art history and I love selecting art for my clients and never choose art to match the sofa...lol
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    I agree with you about art criticism - I actually hate to use the audio guides at museums, as I like to perceive the art and see how it reaches me personally - I am very interested in the visercal experience....probably why I am such a big opera fan.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Any outlandish thing you can imagine about NYC can, of course, be true. Last week the lede story in the New York Post was a man riding the subway wearing only sneakers. I imagine if you put that in a novel, people in other parts of the world would think you were over the top. But we live in the Over The Top capital of the world.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Dickens is, and has always been, my most valued author. I've learned so much from him, and I reread one of his novels every summer. But I love so many: Austen, Wharton, Tolstoy, Faulkner. Among contemporary novelists, Alice McDermott, Don DeLillo, Ron Rash, Amy Bloom. There's a truly terrific novel that's just won a lot of the mystery prizes called Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. But it's actually a literary novel masquerading as a mystery.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Where is the cabin situated in NYS? Seems like a nice place.
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Beats me! But if you're passing through, stop at Tea for Two (Sarah's done with the parens now that she's got a decent husband) and have a scone.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    That is what I liked about the novel -- New York is New York, always changing....one either changes with it or leaves....I look at my nephew and how much he loves the city now....reminds me of me at his age....and now I see it so differently...but I am not ready to leave....
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Amy Bloom is one of my favorites too. She was our last featured author/book - Lucky Us. I fell in love with her book of short stories: Come to Me. Do you write short stories?
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    No. I'm a big canvas kind of writer. But the thing I find amazing about Amy's work is how she can create the sort of huge sweeping panorama, historically, geographically, emotionally, that we usually associate with a doorstop novel in 200 pages. I think Away is one of the great novels of the last ten years. My elder son was so lucky; Amy was his college advisor.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Anna, we're almost at the end of the hour. We had such a great time chatting with you. Thank you for your insights and thoughtful responses. We hope your enjoyed it as well. And thank you for your work!
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Let me just say this before I sign off: I spend most of my time in a small room on the top floor of our house, staring at a computer screen and wondering if anyone cares about what I'm creating. So to meet readers, even in cyberspace, is nothing but a pleasure, and a privilege.
     
       
     
     
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  •  AnnaQuindlen wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    The Real Housewives come and go; books are forever. Thanks for having me.
     
       
     
     
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  •  John_Buscarello wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    Thank you for joining us this afternoon. We really appreciate your time.
     
       
     
     
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  •  Julie_Klein wrote 1160 Days Ago (neutral) 
     
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    It's our pleasure!
     
       
     
     
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  •  Anonymous wrote 1160 Days Ago (positive) 
     
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    Any movies in the future?
     
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Other Books by Author

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