HOT OF THE (LINOTYPE) PRESSES: SO19 news and notes

It's been an honor and a privilege to work with the gifted writers appearing now and in the future on So19, but all this digital construction does cut into a woman's reading time. That said, a few notes on So19-ish news. Emma Donoghue became really well known in America with her contemporary novel Room, but So19ers will likely also know her extraordinary historical novels Slammerkin, Life Mask, and The Sealed Letter. I was excited to hear that she’s returning to the historical novel with her upcoming release, Frog Music, which is set in 1876 San Francisco and scheduled to appear next April. In the So19 read-me-soon stack: Archangel, the new collection of stories by National Book Award winner Andrea Barrett; Jo Baker’s Longbourn, which re-imagines the world of Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ viewpoint; Janice Clark’s The Rathbones and Lori Baker’s The Glass Ocean, both quirky literary novels with a sea theme and 19th-century elements; and John Boyne’s This House is Haunted. On what might be called the “No,No19” front, I was amused enough by the idea of a modern gay film based on Poe’s The House of Usher that I put David DeCocteau’s version in my Netflix queue. Alas, I managed only six minutes. Note to the next filmmaker attempting a remake: calling Roderick Usher “Ush” does not conduce to suspense. Note to readers: I'm doing you a favor by omitting the link here. Trust me.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently exhibiting thirty-five photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, all drawn from its own collection. Even if the photographs weren't so haunting at their best, how can you not love a woman who says, "From the first I handled my lens with tender ardor"? The construction of So19 was underway when I learned of the death of Barbara Mertz, who wrote nonfiction books about Egyptology under her own name, the Amelia Peabody historical mystery series under the name Elizabeth Peters, and a variety of other suspense fiction under the name Barbara Michaels. An intrepid and intellectual Victorian, Peabody is in some real sense the godmother of the feisty crop of Victorian female sleuths that populate mystery fiction today; characters like Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily, discussed in this issue, and many others owe a debt to her. “MPM,” as the author abbreviated herself on her website, is appreciated and missed. —Suzanne Fox < Suzanne Fox is the editor of Society Nineteen. Her books include Home Life: A Journey of Rooms and Recollections (Simon & Schuster). A resident of Vero Beach, FL, she writes for Publishers Weekly among other publications and teaches frequently on book structure, creativity, and literature. For more on Suzanne’s work, visit her website here.