New Faculty Spotlight: By the Book with Evelyn Hampton

Editor's note: Evelyn Hampton recently joined Lighthouse to teach fiction (welcome, Evelyn!). Keep an eye out for her upcoming classes. In the meantime, she generously put together a list of her most memorable reads below.

I usually read fiction, but not all of the fiction I read is easily categorized, as at least a couple of the books on this list suggest.

  • The Baudelaire Fractal by Lisa Robertson. Perhaps this novel is best described as autofiction, or Künstlerroman (an “artist’s novel," or story about becoming an artist). Robertson is well known as a poet, and surely this novel can be read as a chronicle of someone who has devoted their life to language.
  • Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Chiang is the author of “Story of Your Life” (a short story), which was adapted for the film Arrival. If someone says they never read science fiction, I recommend Ted Chiang to them: either Exhalation, his second collection, or Stories of Your Life and Others, his first
  • Transit by Rachel Cusk. This novel (along with the other two in the trilogy, Outline and Kudos) operates in a way that feels familiar and effortless—while doing something with voice and character I’ve not seen other fiction do. These books will influence a generation of writers.
  • Ladivine by Marie NDiaye. NDiaye captures the insidiousness and horror of intergenerational trauma in this novel. I’m in awe of the ending.
  • The Emissary by Yoko Tawada. A novel that looks at climate change and its effects in a way I’ve not seen anywhere else. It’s lovely, and harrowing.
  • Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. A painter retreats to a mountain cabin after his divorce … and some straight-up Murakami weirdness goes down. I listened to the audiobook during the coldest days of this past winter. If you can read it in a remote cabin in the mountains, even better.