April: “Innocents and Others” by Dana Spiotta

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta

Our April 2016 Book of the Month

Dana Spiotta has been a Literary Affairs darling since our book clubs were introduced to her novel Eat the Document. Her latest publication, Innocents and Others – like all of her previous work — has the same intelligent psychological acuity. In our April Book of the Month, she uses it to examine the friendship of two female filmmakers — but don’t be fooled by the chick-lit-seeming subject matter. This is merely a frame through which Spiotta subtly sucks us in to the deeper issues of ambition, art, love, sex, morality, and redemption. She uses her unique blend of fact and fiction to give the reader a very truthful, honest and satisfying portrayal of her characters. In a recent interview Spiotta said, “Even a documentary portrait of a person that tries to be very accurate is shaped by the filmmaker in so many ways. Even if we try to see people in our lives accurately, it is distorted by our own wants and prejudices and experiences.” Innocents and Others shows how a writer in their own medium of art, like a documentary, can use language to shape characters and delve into their human complexity. Her new book is a wonderful addition to her accomplished list of published novels and a highly recommended book club selection.


Dana Spiotta’s new novel is about two women, best friends, who grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common — except their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality. Their lives collide with Jelly, a loner whose most intimate experience is on the phone. Jelly is older, erotic, and mysterious. She cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex, but through listening. She invites them to reveal themselves, and they do.

Spiotta is “a wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life, and an unerring ear for how people talk and try to cope today” (The New York Times). Innocents and Others is her greatest novel — wise, artful, and beautiful.


Dana Spiotta is the author of four novels: Innocents and Others, which will be published by Scribner in 2016; Stone Arabia (2011), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in fiction; Eat the Document (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Lightning Field (2001). Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and won the 2008-2009 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. She lives in Syracuse with her daughter Agnes and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.

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