Tropical Depression:Not A Review

I was pleased to receive a review copy of Arin Greenwood’s debut novel, Tropical Depression. Inspired by Greenwood’s own escape to the South Pacific island of Saipan, Tropical Depression is a laugh-out-loud romp with just enough existential angst to keep it grounded.

What happens when a twenty-something, slightly neurotic, non-practicing Jewish lawyer loses her white shoe law firm job, her NYC apartment and the love of her life in one fateful day? Tropical Depression  chronicles the adventures of Nina Barker as she absconds to the fictional South Pacific island of Miramar and attempts to reinvent herself.

Greenwood’s charming roman à clef is no light-weight, postcard travel novel, but is instead a sometimes heartbreaking, but more often hilarious, look at what happens when we take that leap into the unknown. Tropical Depression is a delightful, funny and altogether satisfying read.

Tropical Depression author Arin Greenwood is back in the States for now and agreed to answer some interview questions:

     Who are you reading now?

     I just finished reading Dear American Airlines, which was very funny and sad – I read a lot in the “travel/life gone wrong” genre, I’d say. Before that I just read Invisible a Paul Auster novel – I love Paul Auster, even though his books all kind of blend together into one giant (and completely enjoyable) Paul Auster mega-novel. I’ll be going to the bookstore today to get a new book to read – any recommendations ?

     Who are your top five authors ?

     It’s too hard to narrow it down to an overall top five – but here are five authors whose books I’ve really enjoyed in the last year (that’s easier !) :

     Martin Page – I just discovered him last year. He’s a french writer. He writes funny, mean little books.

    Calvin Trillin – Everything he writes is delightful. I read one of his food/travel books last year and was charmed as always by him.

    Hal Herzog – I loved his book Some We Love, Some We Eat, about human/animal psychology and ethics. He ponders, for example, why cockfighting is verboten while Chicken McNuggets are freely promoted – it can’t be for the sake of the chickens, since roosters bound for fights are treated a lot better ( and are killed more humanely ) than fowl bound for McDonalds. It’s good stuff.

     Beth Raymer – I couldn’t put down her gambling memoir Lay the Favorite when I was reading it last year.

     Patti Smith – Her book, Just Kids, about her time in NYC with Robert Mapplethorpe, is amazing in so many ways. She presents herself as a wonderful character. her relationship with Mapplethorpe is so complicated and interesting.

     What was you favorite book growing up ?

     Old Yeller – I was obsessed with dogs. Dogs and Horses. I was always reading dog and horse books when I was a kid.

     What book(s) changed your life ?

     Different books have been important to me at different times in my life… Maybe I’ll say a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories that I was reading one day when I was ten. I was reading it on a bus to summer camp, and the girl who became my best friend came over and started talking to me because she’d also read the book. So a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories changed my life in a really good way.

    Who should star in the movie of Tropical Depression ?

     My mother wants Natalie Portman. We’ll see if we can get her after she’s won the Oscar.

     What three word best describe Tropical depression ?

    Hilarious, Heartbreaking, Humble ?

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