Rachel DeWoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing and the forthcoming Repeat After Me, was recently featured in Publishers Weekly's cover story, "The Second Time Around." Tom Rob Smith profiles ten authors who are coming out with their second books, including Rachel DeWoskin, who will be publishing her first novel Repeat After Me in May.
Born: Kyoto, Japan; now lives in Manhattan.
Favorite authors: Anna Akhmatova, James Baldwin, Alison Bechdel, Anne Carson, Emily Dickinson, Tony Kushner, Annie Proulx, Leo Tolstoy, Chris Ware.
Career arc: “Received Hello Kitty! diary. Wrote poems. Read. Wrote. MFA. Taught, wrote, addressed, stamped. Fat rejection folder.”
Plot: Aysha is a 22-year-old New Yorker, teaching English to foreigners and putting her life back together after a nervous breakdown when Da Ge, a young Chinese student, walks into her classroom. Their exhilarating romance offers a glimpse of life and loss between languages.
Author's toughest challenge: “Spending decades in the bat cave revising is often a horror for me. But beautiful books, writers and my students keep me engaged. Writing lines is fast work; getting them right takes a lonely forever. When the words say just what I mean to have said—I'm ecstatic.”
Publisher's pitch: “Funny, irreverent, and touching, Repeat After Me is a manic story of love and misunderstanding, of fantasies and frenzied cities,” according to publicist Francesca Sacasa. “A prize-winning poet, DeWoskin is a sharp new voice among female writers: witty without being dry, emotionally stirring without being sentimental.”
Opening lines: “I met Da Ge on a Tuesday afternoon in the fall of 1989. New York was orange and confident then, leaves breezing the curbs and towers poking above the skyline. I was teaching English as a second language when he arrived two weeks and fifteen minutes late.”