Author Appearance: Erik Larson
Written by Lauryn Smith
Guess who came to town—Erik Larson! Larson is the best-selling author of a handful of nonfiction novels, including "The Devil in the White City" and "In the Garden of Beasts." This Reviewer swooned when she found out he was coming to North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, IL, for a talk and signing event April 7, 2015 (thank you, Beth). A couple of us Reviewers attended Larson’s lecture, during which he spoke about his newest release, "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania," released March 10, 2015, marking the 100th anniversary of the historic disaster. Here are five takeaways from the lecture.
1. Writing Style
Anyone who has ventured into one of Larson’s novels knows that while they are extremely interesting and well written, the amount of information presented does not make them conducive to reading cover to cover in one sitting (not that it is impossible!). However, Larson made clear a humorous nuance to his writing when he read a passage from "Dead Wake" aloud. Some bits of information do more than relay facts—they also illustrate inconsistencies of thought common during the period being written about. In "Dead Wake," for instance, Larson touches on Silas Weir Mitchell’s infamous “rest cure” for female nervous conditions, the most severe cases calling for electric shock treatments in a tub of water.
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