Tom Rachman

Basket of Deplorables (Riverrun)

Below, Tom answers some questions about writing and his book.

What is your favourite short story from the book?

The title story — set at a Manhattan party of literati and hipsters watching in horror as Trump-Clinton election results come in — is probably among my favourites in the book. I wrote it while still in a state of shock myself at the outcome, and this tale (as with the whole collection) is my literary version of clasping my head in my hands whilst stifling a howl.

What is it that draws you to the short story form?

The short story is a glimpse into a stranger’s home. This concentrated but fleeting exposure can be indelible.

Is there a short story that you love by another writer that you wish you’d written?

I don’t covet others’ stories, but I do adore and find inspiration in many, notably those of Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield, Raymond Carver, and more.

What advice would you give to new writers starting out?

Writing may be bliss, revision excruciating. But it’s revision — tireless and pitiless — that is more decisive.

Where’s your favourite place to write and why?

I’m content as long as it’s quiet and I have a comfortable computer. Prolonged solitude matters to me more than the setting.

What was the hardest story in your collection to write and why?

The opening story, Basket of Deplorables is a chorus of voices set against a breaking-news event (when results came in for the Trump-Clinton presidential election). I had to hastily establish several voices as unique, ensure an accurate chronology of the news, and weave in a parallel storyline about the key character. All this was challenging.

Buy Basket of Deplorables here

Read LEAKZILLA from the book.

Born in London and raised in Vancouver, Tom Rachman was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press stationed in Rome, then an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He is the author of three novels, the international bestseller The Imperfectionists (Riverrun, 2010); The Rise and Fall of Great Powers (Sceptre, 2014); and The Italian Teacher (Riverrun, 2018) as well as a short story collection Basket of Deplorables (Riverrun, 2017). He lives in London.

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