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Thomas Mallon's 'Bandbox'

Detail from the cover of 'Bandbox' by Thomas Mallon
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Detail from the cover of 'Bandbox' by Thomas Mallon

Historical novelist Thomas Mallon, author of bestsellers Dewey Defeats Truman and Clara and Henry, has come home to roost. The former literary editor of men's magazine GQ, Mallon has crafted a novel set in the 1920s about the ruthless competition between a fictional New York City magazine and its cutthroat rival.

Bandbox is populated by molls and mobsters, with several real-life characters thrown into the mix. Mallon deftly captures life in the 'Roaring Twenties' through meticulously accurate dialogue, descriptions and plot developments.

NPR's Scott Simon spoke to Mallon and discovered his primary rule when writing historical fiction: read less about the period and more from the period. Mallon feels this is the only way to truly represent the time he has chosen to write about. The author reveals that this process was more important for Bandbox than for his earlier works, which all revolved around a specific historic event that could be easily researched.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.