Dietz, Laura 1976–
Dietz, Laura 1976–
Escalator award for emerging writers, Arts Council of England, 2006.
In the Tenth House (novel), Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.
Laura Dietz was born in 1976, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was educated at Stanford University, then at the University of Oxford, and in 1999, she moved permanently to England, the country from where her ancestors traveled to the New World in 1620. Her interests include science, nature versus nurture, and the image, the latter of which is very much inspired by the fact that Dietz is one of a pair of identical twins. Dietz won the Escalator award for emerging writers, from the Arts Council of England, in 2006. In the Tenth House, Dietz's first novel, combines her interest in science with an interest in history. Set during the Victorian era, the book begins with an encounter between Ambrose Gennett, a doctor, and a medium named Lily Embly, who is a fake of the first order. However, Lily suddenly reveals a series of Ambrose's secrets, things he has never told anyone, before promptly disappearing and causing Ambrose to set off to find her, desperate to learn the secret behind her revelations. Their relationship churns along, heavily influenced by their backgrounds and by outside forces that appear to be intent on keeping them apart. The atmosphere is gothic and spooky, with the book's emphasis on the occult and spiritualism that proved so fascinating to people during that time period, and includes plenty of historical detail to put readers directly into the action and the feel of the time, as well as séances and psychoanalytical experiments. Diane White, reviewing the book for the Boston Globe Online in an article titled ‘Tales of Spirituality, Ethnicity, Zoology, with a Human Touch,’ remarked that ‘Dietz smoothly integrates what must have been an enormous amount of research, telling an enthralling, intricate story rich in atmosphere and historical detail.’ Barbara Lingens, writing for the BookLoons Web site, predicted that ‘lovers of prose set in Victorian times will read this novel nonstop,’ and went on to conclude that Dietz's effort is ‘an impressive first novel’ that ‘shows a wonderful sense of place and time.’ A reviewer for Publishers Weekly also commented on the skill with which Dietz develops her characters and moves her story line forward, stating: ‘Dietz handles her characters and plot with a precision uncommon to debut novelists.’ Sarah Johnson, in a review for Booklist, dubbed Dietz's book an ‘unusual literary gothic,’ and went on to conclude that she found the story to be ‘a compelling account of matters spiritual and scientific in Victorian times."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Sarah Johnson, review of In the Tenth House, p. 29.
Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of In the Tenth House, p. 8.
Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of In the Tenth House, p. 32.
BookLoons,http://bookloons.com/ (November 7, 2007), Barbara Lingens, review of In the Tenth House.
Boston Globe Online,http://www.boston.com/ (May 13, 2007), Diane White, ‘Tales of Spirituality, Ethnicity, Zoology, with a Human Touch."
Laura Dietz Home Page,http://www.lauradietz.com (November 7, 2007).