McEwen, Todd 1953–
McEwen, Todd 1953–
PERSONAL: Born 1953, in CA; emigrated to Scotland, 1981; married Lucy Ellman (a writer). Education: Columbia University, graduated 1975.
ADDRESSES: Home—Edinburgh, Scotland. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Granta Books, 2/3 Hanover Yard, Noel Rd., London N1 8BE, England.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked in broadcasting, theater, and rare books. Former writer-in-residence in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Fisher's Hornpipe (novel), Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1983.
McX: A Romance of the Dour (novel), Grove Weidenfeld (New York, NY), 1990.
Arithmetic, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1998.
Who Sleeps with Katz (novel), Granta Books (London, England), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Todd McEwen is a novelist whose first comic novel, Fisher's Hornpipe, is set in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. His second, McX: A Romance of the Dour, is set in his adopted home of Scotland. The protagonist, McX, is a working-class man whose life is spent visiting his favorite pubs and fish-and-chip eateries, a pursuit interrupted by a love affair. In a review of McX, in Publishers Weekly, Sybil Steinberg observed that "McEwen's prose is like [Franz] Kafka grafted onto [Samuel] Beckett."
Who Sleeps with Katz is set in New York around the holidays. After learning he has lung cancer, MacK walks around the city wondering which of the thousands of cigarettes he has smoked are to blame. He visits his favorite places with his companions, Mary-Ann and Isidor, the "Katz" of the title. As MacK wanders aimlessly about, often numbed by alcohol, he is succored by kind strangers as he contemplates the end of his life. John Sears reviewed the book for Pop Matters online, writing that "New York works hard as an environment in this novel. It offers both place and time, space and memory, to the characters who populate it, and is never reduced to those characters or their society but maintains an aloof, depersonalising distance, so that the city becomes both character and backdrop to the novel." Sears concluded that McEwen "has written in comic, intelligent and sometimes haunting prose a brilliant, convincing, human, emotionally raging portrait of a city and the people it makes, and who make it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New York Times Book Review, Etelka Lehoczky, review of Who Sleeps with Katz, p. 28.
Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of McX: A Romance of the Dour, p. 46.
Spectator, April 28, 1990, Ross Clark, review of McX, p. 29.
Village Voice, December 10, 2003, review of Who Sleeps with Katz, p. 51.
Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/ (March 7, 2006), John Sears, review of Who Sleeps with Katz.