Bags, ready to go

Beautiful West Texas viewed from above

My orchid in Paris 2010

Au Jardin des Plantes, Paris 2010

Barton Springs 2009

Hawk in the Library of Congress. Photo credit to come.

Reports of a sort

This has been a long time

January 10, 2015

Tags: A new year, a new story

So many friends are relieved that 2014 is over. One friend writes from Paris that after two deaths in her family and the loss of her two dogs, she couldn't wait for the year to end. My feeling about 2014 is that it went in a flash.

We moved from the house we'd been in for (more…)

Snow in Austin and Memories of Houston

February 4, 2011

Because of our uncharacteristic winter weather, my readings in Dallas and Houston were cancelled. I'm rescheduling in both cities--March 3 for Houston.

When I first moved to Texas, I settled in Houston, where I'd been on business trips. I figured I'd spend the winter there and then go home to upstate New York. That was in October 1978 and I'm still in Texas.
In those years, I worked as an editor for Dominique de Menil on various projects, and I'd met some people who became good friends. One, Karl Kilian, I knew from New York. Karl was born in Lake Charles, I believe, and grew up in Houston. He's the smartest and funniest man you could hope to meet. I'd known him when I lived in New York on 89th between Broadway and Amsterdam, and he worked across Broadway at the New Yorker bookstore. By the time I got to Houston, Karl had opened the Brazos Bookstore and established it as a cultural center in the city. We lived in the same neighborhood--Deauville, an enclave in Montrose--the blocks of modest little houses owned by Dominique de Menil. The neighborhood gained visual coherence from the uniform brownish gray color all the buildings were painted. Across from Karl's house was the Rothko Chapel. Across from the brick fourplex where I lived is now the beautiful Menil Museum, designed by Renzo Piano. Then it was a clear green field from which houses had been cleared.
Once I moved to Houston, I no longer worked for Mme. de Menil but had a job as a senior editor at Houston City Magazine, which was the first office job I'd had that was any kind of fun. Down the street from the magazine was the Blue Bird Circle Thrift Shop, which figured in my novel about Houston, The Shadow Line.
Writing that book gave me the chance to snoop around the city and to learn about it. I had many guides--Karl Kilian, Stephen Fox--and was astonished by the generosity of so many people eager to help me understand their city.

Publication Day 2011

February 1, 2011

Tags: The Mother Who Stayed is published today!

The other day an interviewer asked when I began to write THE MOTHER WHO STAYED. In a way, it was the day in 1972 when I started to clear out the house I'd just bought in Washington County, New York, and found a box of fourteen little diaries. There's been a lot of writing between then and now. I'm so happy that my book is out in the world.

What is Laura Furman Reading?

February 1, 2011

The links are below.
I wrote about Next by James Hynes.


January 31, 2011

Glimmertrain just posted an essay I wrote, inspired by a quote from St. Teresa of Avila. The quote was part of the text for a January 22, 2011, concert by the wonderful Conspirare here in Austin at St. Martin's Lutheran.

Exclamation Points

January 31, 2011

Since I started communicating for business and personal life on e-mail, Facebook, texting, and all, I find that I'm using exclamation points with the enthusiasm and lack of discrimination of a happy puppy.

Why? Is it the medium, the message, or me?

Menatime, please check out:

Katherine Mansfield!


January 30, 2011

Tonight I had dinner with former colleagues, so recently "former" that I still felt a part of the group. We were most (two were unable to come) of the women full professors in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

The conversation—about work and balance in a full life, and about being in a privileged position as a professor—reminded me of my late friend Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, author of Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village, a book that's been in print longer than fifty years. She worked unsparingly as a mentor, teacher, writer, organizer of conferences, filmmaker, hostess of fabulous dinners and parties, good friend. She wrote about women in the Arab world, and gave many women writers from the Middle East a voice in English through translation and finding publishers for their work.

She and I exchanged shopping bags full of paperback mysteries. We didn't always like the same books but shared the enjoyment of losing ourselves in a good read. Neither of us really cared who did it.

I miss her.

The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker just arrived

January 29, 2011

Michael Parker has written a new novel, and galleys arrived today. It has a terrific cover—spooky, creepy, beautiful--and I can't wait to read it. He's a wonderful writer. I don't think he's written anything set in the past before this book, but I could be wrong. The publication date is April 26, 2011.

Reading aloud

January 25, 2011

Since I've been advised by trustworthy types not to read longer than twenty minutes, I'm pacing around the house this morning reading aloud the shortest stories from THE MOTHER WHO STAYED. Some stories work best on the page and others are good for reading aloud.The one I thought would be perfect is 6 minutes too long and requires a real performance. Perhaps from Kathleen Chalfant or another fine performer. I'm about to try another.

At UNC/Greensboro in Fall 2008, I read "The Eye," the first story in the book, and that took a long time. It was well received and Michael Parker assured and reassured me that I didn't bore anyone's socks off, but who knows? A special audience at a university reading--hardened graduate students and faculty, trained in the ways of listening to visitors reading and reading. Shorter beats longer any day. Onward and upward.

Manchester, here I come

January 24, 2011

Manchester, Vermont, is close to Cambridge, New York, where I used to live and where part of THE MOTHER WHO STAYED is set. It's also home to Northshire Bookstore, a wonderful, old-fashioned, up-to-date, welcoming independent bookstore. I'll be reading there on February 12, and I'm looking forward to it.

This engagement might give me the chance to drive in terrible cold and/or snow for the first time in decades.

In Manchester, I'm looking forward to meeting Mrs. Carlin Scherer, who lives just down the road from the bookstore. She's inviting her writing group. She sent me a message that it was below zero and reminded me to bring my woolies. And my silk long-johns.

The next day I drive north to Burlington, beautiful Burlington on Lake Champlain to see my family and friends there, and to read at Barnes & Noble at 2 PM on February 13. If it's cold in Manchester, it might be colder in Burlington. Even colder.

The Mother Who Stayed

Story Collections
Winedale Books, 2001.
"Furman’s portraits of her characters are rich in telling details, showing them utterly and convincingly rooted in their worlds. Her luxuriant histories of grief are sure and exact, drawing the reader in and rarely loosening their grip." The New York Times Book Review
Viking Press, 1983
"The stories in Watch Time Fly are deceptively simple; they illustrate the way in which masterful skill can disguise itself as an innocent lack of literary self-consciousness." –Wendy Lesser, The New York Times Book Review
Summit Books, 1986;
reissued by Winedale Books in 2000
"Tuxedo Park is the best entertainment imaginable, rich in plot and event, pulling the reader from page to page as powerfully as the most suspenseful thriller. But it's also good literature. It's finely crafted, each character lovingly, carefully wrought, each scene meticulously colored and every detail palpable.... This is a book that first catches your eye and then grabs your heart. It hangs on and won't let go." — Anne Tyler, USA Today
Viking Press, 1982
Winedale Books, 1996.
"Ordinary Paradise shows how a devastating loss, acknowledged or not, can seep through the family psyche." —The New York Times Book Review
Edited Collections
“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” —The Atlantic Monthly

Quick Links

Find Authors