Susan K. Reed

Talking with Dominick Dunne

”Of course I’m nervous,” Dominick Dunne announces. The author is sitting on the edge of a plumped-up green damask sofa in the living room of his Manhattan penthouse. He is talking about his upcoming trip to Los Angeles to promote his best-seller An Inconvenient Woman. Since Los Angeles is the setting for his story of scandal in high society — and the place where several models for the novel’s characters live — Dunne is worrying about running into certain people while he is there.

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Sue Miller tackles autism

When Sue Miller began plotting Family Pictures, her novel about a family’s devastating experience with an autistic child, she didn’t need to think too long about its setting. ”Chicago in the 1950s was the worst place in the world for an autistic child to be born,” she says. ”Bruno Bettelheim was at the University (of Chicago). He believed that mothers caused their children’s autism by subconsciously rejecting them. He called them schizophrenogenic mothers, and for a long time the theory was extraordinarily influential.

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