He lived and studied in Eastern Europe, which allowed him to experience the region. These experiences have influenced the narratives of Anthony Marra, who was at FLAD this Monday for a conversation about his writing, his works, and where his inspiration comes from.

Anthony Marra was the January guest on Meet the Author – American Writers Meetings. In this conversation with journalist Isabel Lucas, Marra talked about how his experience in Eastern Europe, where he lived and studied, shaped his narratives. His three books The Czar of Love and Techno, A Constellation of A Vital Phenomenona, and Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel each represent, in their own way, “how culture shapes politics and how politics revives cultural debate,” he said.

The author explained that his latest book Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel – which will be translated into Portuguese by the end of this year – differs from The Tsar of Love and Tecnho and A Constellation of A Vital Phenomena by its more autobiographical perspective.

“With the first two I saw them as a relationship between reporter and his subject of journalism, I tried my best to distance myself from what I was writing. In this last one, for the first time, I approached my own family story.” – Anthony Marra

The writer also told that his father’s experience in the Vietnam war became the great inspiration for his work. “As a child, I remember being fascinated and horrified by the things my father might have witnessed at a relatively young age, and I think that ended up being something that was reflected in my work,” he said.

“Comedy is how absurdity is articulated, it’s through comedy that we get to know absurdity, and that’s one of the reasons why my works have a certain humor and comedy when I’m dealing with serious issues.” – Anthony Marra

Watch the full session here:



Meet the Author is an initiative of FLAD, in partnership with PÚBLICO newspaper. The goal is to provide Portuguese readers with close contact with some of the most respected writers in the USA.

The sessions take place monthly and are open to the general public, free of charge. The invited authors are interviewed by journalist Isabel Lucas, also author of Viagem ao Sonho Americano (Companhia das Letras), in which she seeks to understand America through books.