Ian McGuire’s third novel, The North Water, was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and recognized by The New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2016. In his review of the book, Colm Toibin described it as a “riveting and darkly brilliant novel” that “feels like the result of an encounter between Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy in some run-down port as they offer each other a long, sour nod of recognition.”
Ian McGuire recently crossed the pond from Manchester to accept a job teaching Fiction at University of North Texas, where I took a workshop with him this past semester. After reading The North Water, I felt I needed to look deeper into this author who is a maestro at the level of the sentence—so careful, so delicate, so sharp. His tone is crisp and tight, and he is memorable as a vivid storyteller with an extraordinary talent for description. I’m sure after reading The North Water, like me, you’ll understand just what that long, sour nod of recognition is all about.
I was able to ask Ian a few questions following our exhilarating workshop, and I continue to reflect upon his answers as the year nears its close.