In Conversation: Louis Begley and Jane Kramer
Thursday April 9, 2015
Writers Louis Begley and Jane Kramer came together to discuss Begley's new book, Killer, Come Hither.
About Killer, Come Hither
Jack Dana, a star history student at Yale with a bright future in academia, feels called to military service after 9/11. His career as a Marine infantry platoon leader is cut short by sniper fire that sends him to Walter Reed Hospital, where he begins writing a novel about his wartime experiences. Helping Jack through recovery is his uncle Harry, Jack’s surrogate father and a partner in a leading New York law firm. Harry’s connections secure Jack a publisher. His work is critically and commercially successful. Life after Afghanistan is falling into place, and a three-month trip to South America seems a fitting reward. But his return home is marred by shocking news: Uncle Harry is dead, hanged in his Sag Harbor summer home, clearly a suicide.
Horrified and incredulous, Jack digs into the facts surrounding his uncle’s death. Aided by Harry’s most trusted associate, Kerry Black, and by his college friend Scott Prentice, who now works for the CIA, Jack discovers that Harry had pierced the secret of his most important client, Abner Brown, a right-wing multibillionaire notorious for backing extremist causes. The stakes and dangers are huge. Harry’s death now seems anything but a suicide.
Delays of law are not for Jack when it comes to avenging his uncle. He takes matters into his own hands. Louis Begley’s taut, intelligent thriller takes readers from the knotty politics of New York law firms to the intimacy of life on the Long Island shore, all with his trademark wit and nuance.
Louis Begley’s previous novels are Memories of a Marriage, Schmidt Steps Back, Matters of Honor, Shipwreck, Schmidt Delivered, Mistler’s Exit, About Schmidt, As Max Saw It, The Man Who Was Late, and Wartime Lies, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Irish Times/Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Jane Kramer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1964 and has written the Letter from Europe since 1981. She is the author of Off Washington Square, a collection of her articles from the Village Voice. She has published two collections of essays from The New Yorker —Allen Ginsberg in America and Honor to the Bride—and three collections of articles from The New Yorker—Unsettling Europe, Europeans and The Politics of Memory: Looking for Germany in the New Germany. She is also author of The Last Cowboy, which won the American Book Award for nonfiction.