I Have Some Questions For You
March 26, 2023 7:20 AM - Subscribe

In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transfixing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph.

Gabino Iglesias for NPR: In I Have Some Questions for You, Makkai has carefully crafted a novel that inhabits a strange interstitial space between a whodunit, a crime novel with a few elements plucked from found footage films, a story that investigates personal and collective memory, a critique of social media as a place where context is lost and no mistake goes unpunished, and a literary novel about a woman in flux reckoning with her past while trying to navigate her tumultuous present.

Kirkus Reviews: Punctuating the story with lists of references to familiar crimes—“the one where” this or that happened—Makkai places the fictional murder in a societal context of violence against women and the obsession with true crime. Fans of The Great Believers (2018) should be forewarned that this book does not have the profound impact of its predecessor, partly because the emotions brought up by its topic are on the outrage-anger spectrum rather than the grief-sorrow one.

Author interview with Scott Neumyer at Shondaland: My first two books kept getting called “romps.” No matter what I did, it was called a “charming romp.” And I think that if The Great Believers had not been taken seriously, I would have really hesitated to write a book that involves high school, for that reason.
posted by the primroses were over (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Listened to this audiobook this week, and really enjoyed it. I thought Makkai did a good job of broaching a lot of thorny issues in her narrative and bringing the story to a conclusion without trying to settle those issues.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:29 AM on March 26, 2023

I need to read this for an upcoming book club, but I have to admit, I don’t read much contemporary litfic and when I saw the description was basically “a murder podcaster confronts her childhood trauma and takes on [list of social issues that have been trending on Twitter recently]” I was shall we say not very excited to check it out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:29 AM on March 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

It touches on a lot of "issues of the moment," but for me it was mostly about memory and adolescence. And the mid-nineties. If you do audiobooks, I think this is a good one for that format (not always true with litfic in my experience).

Anyway, hope you'll report back with your thoughts, good or bad. This wasn't my favorite read/listen so far this year, but it seems like good discussion fodder. I figured it might be worth a Fanfare post. I imagine it will be a popular book club selection, since it's a pretty good read but also offers up plenty of topics for "ok, I didn't get around to reading this month's selection but I still have Opinions on Issues" discussions.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:41 AM on March 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was fairly excited to read this because the reviews made it sound great and I enjoyed this for the most part -- it was a quick, compelling read for me. Makkai does a good job of pulling everything together and I did appreciate the tone and the framing of it. Still, and this is more about me and my tastes than anything else, but I did wish it had been weirder. But I don't read a lot of mainstream, recent fiction and I feel like this is good for the audience who typically reads that.
posted by edencosmic at 8:18 AM on March 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this, although I usually don't read books about dead girls. I went to boarding school in New England and while I know the author didn't, it certainly feels like she did. There are a lot of small, perfect details.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:55 AM on March 31, 2023

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