Cronin is an interesting choice for WWW, which is generally a highbrow affair. (Last week's guest, poet Charles Simic, was the 15th poet laureat of the United States.) Cronin, on the other hand, is an author who moved from literary fiction (the New York Times called his debut “subtle and beautifully realized”) to genre fiction (the New York Times called his first vampire novel “overwritten and overrated
preposterously self-important”). FWIW, I read the first two Passage novels and I think the Times was a little harsh — they reminded me of Stephen King's classic The Stand, but if you choke on the idea that anything King wrote could be considered classic, they probably aren't for you. And on the other hand, his debut, Mary and O'Neil, the short story collection that the Times gushed about, was lovely and realistic in a way that Cronin's vampire books aren't. (The cover art really speaks to the difference between these two books.)
Colson Whitehead, another author who’s crossed the aisle, called that attitude “other people’s labels; other people’s hang-ups” in an article about Cronin. More than any of the other WWW visitors, Cronin may be able to address students’ knotty questions of credibility and authenticity — if that's a thing kids even care about now.
Justin Cronin, Feb. 13
Master class 4 p.m., Bush Auditorium | Reading, on-stage interview and book signing 7:30 p.m., Bush Auditorium