Book Review
Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books, 2013.
Reviewed by Mike Ervin

GKBK_PbkWhen seeking inspiration while writing her wonderful novel, Good Kings Bad Kings, Susan Nussbaum called upon spite to be her muse.

The Chicago playwright and actor who is a quad wrote a play about young women with disabilities that she considered to be one of her finest works. But no one would produce it. It’s not possible to be involved in theater for decades as Nussbaum has without a strong ability to persevere in the face of rejection. But Nussbaum stopped writing for a year or so to reassess her art.

Then she decided to write a novel. If worse came to worse, she said, she could publish it herself and perhaps persuade a hundred or so of her friends and family to read it “At least I wouldn’t have to ask anyone for an audience. I didn’t want to shop it around and sort of suck up to anyone because it’s not a pleasant experience.”

Then, she says, “I got very lucky.” She submitted her manuscript for Barbara Kingsolver’s PEN/Bellwether Pr