I can’t wait to get my hands on James Magruder’s forthcoming novel Vamp Until Ready.
“A precise, affectionate collection of linked stories follows the lives of several “townies” in Ithaca, New York, from 1980 through 1992. It’s a tour de force performance, charming and unstrained…”
—Kirkus, starred review
I have admired James Magruder‘s enviable body of work for nearly 30 years now. He has had the career that I dreamed I might have, once upon a time. He is a masterful writer in many forms (stage plays and musicals, translations, novels, memoir, essays, and more), intellectual, multilingual, teacher and mentor, and proud gay man (with a handsome, intelligent, and charming husband, no less).
Since I moved back to Baltimore in the mid-00s, I’ve been privileged to get to know James personally and join his circle of friends. (We both have been a little surprised by how frequently our circles overlapped.) I’ve also had the chance to learn about his many other good qualities: he is warm, kind, and generous; he has a great sense of humor and a sharp wit; he is the consummate dinner party host and guest; and he can cook a mean pot roast.
“James Magruder’s warm-hearted, hair-raising, and hilarious new novel, Vamp Until Ready, is a cross between Winesburg, Ohio and a backstage musical—a panorama of small-town American life over a dozen years, but a dozen particular years during the era of Reagan-Bush, the global AIDS crisis, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. ” —John Weir, author of Your Nostalgia is Killing Me
But what I admire most about Jim is that he is an intrepid and deeply committed writer. In the relatively few years that we have been acquainted, he published his first novel (Sugarless), his second novel (Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall), and now his third novel (Vamp Until Ready) is forthcoming.
In his off hours(!) during the last decade or so, James has also published a series of stories in a fictionalized memoir (Let Me See It), which describes life events so much like my own that it gave me chills. Oh! And he also co-wrote the blank verse book for Head Over Heels, a Broadway musical based on a 16th century play and incorporating the song catalog of the 1980s girl-band, The Go-Gos. When he wasn’t busy picking up awards and nominations for his work, he also squeezed in some teaching at Swarthmore College.
A few days ago, I was delighted to learn that Rattling Good Yarns Press will publish Vamp Until Ready on September 28. Most importantly, it is available for pre-sale RIGHT NOW! Of course I placed my order immediately, as should you. I have no doubt that this new work will be as brilliant as the others. And goodness knows, in the face of COVID-19 and other world crises today, I could use a good laugh or two. I bet you could, too. Now we just have to place our orders and be patient until the book arrives. Vamp, vamp, vamp.