Author Archives: Jerry Whelan

About Jerry Whelan

Jerry Whelan graduated from Boston Latin School, Boston College & Middlebury College. While still teaching languages at Boston College High School, he completed a draft of his first novel, an historical saga set in 19th century Boston. It includes a Darling of a character he’s still loath to kill, who speaks in near-incomprehensible Joycean tongues. Not surprisingly, this MS is serving as an excellent doorstop. His second novel, The Man Who Walked In Circles, graduated from Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program, and is a better Man for it, though not yet the Man of Jerry’s dreams. Jerry’s publications to date include translations of Mario Vargas Llosa in Salmagundi, and his first published short story “Pasquale The Glassblower,” in the Fall 2012 issue of the Madison Review. Jerry’s current language obsession is German. Es lebe Dead Darlings!

Looking the Sphinx in the Eyes

The first page of Jenny Erpenbeck’s amazing 2014 novel The End of Days (Aller Tage Abend in German, available in English from New Directions) has to rank among the most agonizingly beautiful—and thematically apt—novel openings ever written: “The Lord gave,…

The Essential Question for Writers

For me, the big-daddy, litmus-test, most-uncomfortable-question-of-all has always been: do I need to be a writer, or merely want to? The implication being that one’s legitimacy as a writer depends on a yes to first part of the question, a…

Too Many Metaphors?

“Our mother performed in starlight.” Thus reads the succinct and succulent first sentence of Swamplandia!, Karen Russell’s 2011 literary blockbuster (Oops! Dead metaphor.) And while it doesn’t, at first blush, contain a metaphor—their mother, Hilola Bigtree, really does perform under…

My Beef with Silver Linings Playbook

Catching up on the movies I missed last year slaving over my novel draft, last night I watched Silver Linings Playbook. The film is about a young man, Pat Solitano, from a working class Italian family in north Philadelphia, who…