Zevin, Gabrielle 1977-
Zevin, Gabrielle 1977-
Born October 24, 1977, in New York, NY; partner of Hans Canosa (a director). Education: Harvard University, B.A. (English and American literature), 2000.
Home and office—New York, NY.
Author and screenwriter.
Margarettown (for adults), Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Elsewhere (for young adults), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Memories of a Teenage Amnesiac, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.
(And producer and designer) Alma Mater, produced, 2002.
Conversations with Other Women (screenplay), produced 2005.
After Dark, produced, 2008.
A screenwriter who has seen several of her films produced, Gabrielle Zevin became a published novelist in 2005 with the publication of Elsewhere. In fact, Zevin's young-adult novel started out as a potential play or screenplay, but it morphed into prose fiction as writing progressed. As Elsewhere opens, fifteen-year-old Lizzie is tragically killed in a car accident while on her way to meet a friend at the mall. The recently deceased teen now finds herself in the afterlife, ‘Elsewhere", where she shares a home with her grandmother. In this place, Lizzie can look back on the world of the living from a special Observation Deck. As Elsewhere unfolds, Lizzie reflects on her past, particularly on those things she did not get to experience, and in her afterlife existence she eventually manages to come to terms with those lost opportunities. Charles de Lint, reviewing the novel in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, commented that Zevin's fiction debut "makes for a most absorbing and fascinating read" because the author "peoples her book with such an interesting cast of characters." A Publishers Weekly critic also enjoyed the novel, predicting that "even readers who have strong views on what happens after death may find themselves intrigued by the fascinating world of Elsewhere.
In addition to Elsewhere, Zevin is also the author of the adult novel Margarettown, "an original look at love and how you never really know your beloved," according to Library Journal contributor Robin Nesbitt. Told from the point of view of a professor identified only as N., the work begins as Zevin's narrator falls in love Maggie, a student who takes him to visit her family in Margarettown. The story takes a surreal turn, however, when N. discovers that only women named Margaret, or some variant, live within the town's limits. As the plot unfolds, Maggie confides that she lives under a curse. The entire tale turns out to be a long letter from N. to his daughter, Jane, describing the bizarre twists in his courtship and marriage to Maggie as well as their subsequent separation.
Discussing her career as a writer, Zevin once commented: "I've never been the type of person who sat around waiting for ideas to come to her or to ‘be inspired’ or what have you. I think, as a writer, that sort of wait-and-see mentality leaves too much to chance and can end up being pretty destructive. And writing is ‘wait-and-see’ enough as it is. So, I've always sat around and thought as hard as I could and just let my brain free-associate and wander until I come up with something that strikes my fancy."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Margarettown, p. 1346; August, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, "A Death Well Lived," p. 2017; April 15, 2006, Traci Todd, review of Elsewhere, p. 70.
Bookseller, August 12, 2005, Becky Stradwick, review of Elsewhere, p. 28.
Bookwatch, January, 2006, review of Elsewhere.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2005, Deborah Stevenson, review of Elsewhere, p. 58.
Horn Book, September-October, 2005, Kitty Flynn, review of Elsewhere, p. 591; January-February, 2006, review of Elsewhere, p. 12.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of Elsewhere, p. 925.
Kliatt, May, 2006, Janet Julian, review of Elsewhere, p. 43.
Library Journal, May 1, 2005, Robin Nesbitt, review of Margarettown, p. 78; September, 2005, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Elsewhere, p. 16.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April, 2006, Charles de Lint, review of Elsewhere, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, March 28, 2005, review of Margarettown, p. 55; August 29, 2005, review of Elsewhere, p. 57.
School Library Journal, October, 2005, Sharon Grover, review of Elsewhere, p. 180.
Times Educational Supplement, December 9, 2005, Geraldine Brennan, review of Elsewhere, p. 18.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2006, Pam Spencer Holley, review of Elsewhere, p. 31.
Bloomsbury Web site,http://bloomsbury.com/ (February 4, 2007), "Gabrielle Zevin."
Farrar, Straus & Giroux Web site,http://www.fsgkidsbooks.com/ (February 4, 2007), "Gabrielle Zevin."
TeenReads.com,http://www.teenreads.com/ (September 20, 2006), interview with Zevin.