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Otherppl with Brad Listi

A weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today's leading authors.
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Now displaying: 2014
Dec 31, 2014

Mark Gluth is the guest. His new novel No Other is available now from Sator Press.

Kate Zambreno says

"In Mark Gluth's beautiful family gothic No Other, the reader encounters a landscape of mood and mystery, burning with a stripped-down pain. Gluth's sentences devastate in their raw economy, attempting to penetrate the everyday, tracing abbreviated existences struggling to survive through bare seasons."

And Blake Butler says

"In clipped, incantatory verse shined from whorls somewhere between Gummo and As I Lay Dying, Mark Gluth's No Other invents new ambient psychological terraforma of rare form, a world by turns humid and eerie, nowhere and now, like a blacklight in a locked room."

Monologue topics:  the holidays, Santa, mail, answering questions with questions.

 

Dec 24, 2014

Luke B. Goebel is the guest. His new novel, Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours, is now available from Fiction Collective Two.

Kirkus Reviews says

“If Kerouac were writing today, his work might look something like this—and despite the title, many of the stories are indeed ours, as they focus on love and loss, pain and yearning.… This is a fierce, untamed, riotous book—and from the first page you’ll know you’re not reading Jane Austen.”

And Lidia Yuknavitch says

"I'm in love with language again because Luke B. Goebel is not afraid to take us back through the gullet of loss into the chaos of words. Someone burns a manuscript in Texas; someone's speed sets a life on fire; a heart is beaten nearly to death, the road itself is the trip, a man is decreated back to his animal past--better, beyond ego, beautiful, and look: there's an American dreamscape left. There's a reason to go on."

Monologue topics: holidays, Santa Claus, lying, shattering my daughter's dream. 

Dec 17, 2014

Lynn Lurie is the guest. Her new novel, Quick Kills, is available now from Etruscan Press.

Kirkus Reviews says

"Prepare to be disturbed by this slim but disquieting novel about the perils of youth and the trespasses committed against a young girl. This second novel by Lurie (Corner of the Dead, 2008) is purposefully vague in its descriptions but nevertheless carries with it a feeling of dread for its unnamed female narrator. As the book opens, she is roughly 13 years old and engaged in an unsuitable relationship with a photographer who tells her that young girls fill canvasses and who takes many, many nude photographs of her. She also has a rough-and-tumble brother, Jake, and a fragile sister, Helen. Their father, a hunter, also seems to represent an omnipresent threat. In one scene, Helen arrives with smeared eyeliner, trailing blood: "As she passes me in the foyer, she says to Mother. I had nothing to do with this. Why don't you ask Daddy?" The mother in question is equally guilty of the crimes of this household, emotionally absent and quick to overlook the obvious damage being done to her daughters. As the narrator indulges her own interests in photographing the world around her, readers should experience these flashes of imagery much as she does—the grotesque and the beautiful, all wrapped up in one another. By the end of the book, it becomes a story of survivor's guilt as the narrator invests her hurt in brief, broken and unwise liaisons. "By having done nothing all these years I didn't protect the others that must have come after me," she admits, in the end. As a bildungsroman, the story is lacking in detail, emotional depth and character arc, but it nevertheless leaves a frightening and lingering restlessness in its wake that may be hard for readers to shake."

Monologue topics: moving, freezing, rain, 24-hr grocery stores, the dirty heart of LA, cosmically significant accidental verbal puns.

Dec 10, 2014

Michael McGriff and J.M. Tyree are the guests. Their new story collection, Our Secret Life in the Movies, is now available from A Strange Object.

The Washington Post says

"This beautiful, devastating little book is quite unlike anything else I've ever encountered, and if you grew up in a small town in the 1980s feeling even remotely marginal, it's specifically engineered to break your heart."

And the BBC calls it

"Brilliant."

Monologue topics: the move, exhaustion, the new home studio, schedule changes. 

Dec 3, 2014

Mike Bushnell is the guest. His latest poetry collection is called OHSO, and it's available now from Scrambler Books.

Scott McClanahan says

"OHSO is revolutionary. It has seen death. Mike Bushnell is a ghost of the classics."

And Beach Sloth says

"Mike Bushnell is a tornado of a person. Everything around him gets sucked into his vortex. What comes out are some of the single best lines I have encountered. The energy he possesses with live readings translates extremely well into the written word. OHSO has been a long time a coming but thank goodness it is finally here."

Monologue topics:  moving, schedule changes.

 

 

 

Nov 30, 2014

Dmitry Samarov is the guest. His new memoir, Where To?, is now available from Curbside Splendor. 

Rick Kogan calls it

"Funny, touching, observant, philosophical, sad, world-weary, artful and wonderful are the stories that pepper this book. There has never been a cab driver like Dmitry Samarov and, since he's given up for keeps late-night for-hire driving, there never will be."

And Wendy MacNaughton says

"With his gorgeous pen and ink drawings and funny, tragic, and all too true stories, Samarov's chronicle of his adventures as a Chicago taxi driver is by far the best ride you'll ever take in a cab."

Monologue topics:  mail, recent episodes. 

Nov 26, 2014

Dorothea Lasky is the guest. Her latest poetry collection, Rome, is available now from Liveright. 

Maggie Nelson says

“Dorothea Lasky is one of the very best poets we've got. Her poems radiate weirdness and raw power; you can feel your mind grow new folds as you read them. They lay waste to milquetoast notions of poetic longing or melancholy, and instead go in for the vibrating, bloody facts of sadness, anger, desire, bare life, all returned to us more intensely, strangely, and sometimes comedically, by her words. The line is Lasky's measure, and she wields it like an axe she's been carrying through several lifetimes, that kind of wisdom. Her Rome is huge and intrepid and perfect, a total gift.”

And Fanny Howe says

Rome is a trip with the wheels engaged to land at every line ending, then flipped up again. A wholly open-hearted book bringing me back to Bernadette Mayer, Maureen Owen and the suffragettes. True life.”

Monologue topics:  holiday gift ideas, support the show, Dorothea reads a poem.

Nov 23, 2014

William Giraldi is the guest. His latest novel, Hold the Dark, is now available from Liveright Publishing.

The New York Times Book Review calls it

“[F]ierce, extraordinary…. Hold the Dark is an unnerving and intimate portrayal of nature gone awry. It’s all but bereft of levity, spectacularly violent and exquisitely written.”

And the Boston Globe says

“Maybe it all began with Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock in 1938, but there is a variety of modern thriller, created these days by Robert Stone and Denis Johnson at their best, that delivers narrative thrust and beautifully composed sentences by the pageful even as it peels away the thin membrane that separates entertainment from art, and nature from civilization. Here’s Boston writer William Giraldi adding to the slender ranks of such masterly fiction… [Hold the Dark] certainly stands out as one of the decade’s best books of its kind, and one that deserves, because of its stylish flaunting of some of our darkest fears, a future readership.”

Monologue topics: holiday gift ideas, the holidays, capitalist orgies, bad attitudes. 

Nov 19, 2014

Atticus Lish is the guest. His debut novel, Preparation for the Next Life, is available now from Tyrant Books.  It is the official November selection of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

The New York Times calls it

“Perhaps the finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade.”

And Joy Williams says

"So much of American fiction has become playful, cynical and evasive. Preparation for the Next Life is the strong antidote to such inconsequentialities. Powerfully realistic, with a solemn, muscular lyricism, this is a very, very good book."

Monologue topics: TNB Book Club, mail, transcribing this podcast, Dear Sugar, advice.

Nov 16, 2014

Meghan Daum is the guest. Her new essay collection, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, is available now from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. 

Hilton Als says

“I think it’s fair to say that I can’t tell you what Meghan Daum’s remarkable book means to me—the exceptional often denies verbalization. Her diverse subject matter aside—Mom, Joni Mitchell, the fetishization of food—it’s Daum’s galvanizing energy that one finds so attractive; nowhere in her work is there evidence of the ‘trance’ that Virginia Woolf said characterized so many women’s lives. Instead, Daum builds her various worlds out of great presence and imagination, and who wouldn’t want to live in her new city?”

And Geoff Dyer says

The Unspeakable is a fantastic collection of essays: funny, clever, and moving (often at the same time), never more universal than in its most personal moments (in other words, throughout), and written with enviable subtlety, precision, and spring.”

Monologue topics:  mail, dead animals, sleep, naps.

Nov 12, 2014

Hannah Pittard is the guest. Her new novel is called Reunion, and it is available now from Grand Central Publishing. 

Emily St. John Mandel calls it

"A nuanced and intriguing study of family and love, money and debt, failure and success, starring one of the most likeable flawed narrators to come along in some time."

And Publishers Weekly calls it

"Emotionally astute...When this family of sorts gathers in Atlanta for the funeral, there is tension, pain, comedy, and finally, some healing and resolution. Kate is a winning narrator, whose insights into herself and her family keep the pages turning."

Monologue topics:  wheat, internet holes, movies, Birdman, Gone Girl.  

Nov 9, 2014

Bich Minh Nguyen is the guest. Her new novel, Pioneer Girl, is available now from Viking.

The San Francisco Chronicle calls it

"[A] sincere and moving novel... a surprising synthesis of the personal and the public, the intimate and the epic, the historical and the fictional. Nguyen takes two disparate strands of our national mythology and weaves them into a powerful and wholly original American saga."

And Kirkus Reviews says

"Nguyen has a perceptive understanding of the tension between mothers and daughters and the troubling insights to be gained from digging into the past. An unexpected pleasure, with a well-drawn and compelling narrator."

Monologue topics: Las Vegas, pot, gambling, losing, winning, ethics.

Nov 5, 2014

Frederick Barthelme is the guest. His latest novel, There Must Be Some Mistake, is available now from Little, Brown & Co.

David Shields says

"Very nearly alone among his peers, Frederick Barthelme has, over the last thirty-five years, written fiction about what it actually feels like to live in contemporary post-religious, hyper-mediated America. And—even more of a rarity—he works hard to find a way to somehow tolerate/celebrate, with enormous subtlety and without an ounce of sentimentality, our bare-bones existence. In There Must Be Some Mistake, Barthelme has distilled his brutal, crucial vision into useable essence."

And Publishers Weekly says

"Barthelme, a master of minimalist suburbia-set fiction, returns with a buoyantly offbeat murder tale that doubles as a meditation on everything from contemporary art to Google to mortality... Throughout the novel, his narration provides punchy, wry commentary on the banality of pop culture, but the tone is, ultimately, infectiously optimistic."

Monologue topics:  mail, food, animal rights, Sarah Gerard, not voting, apathy, George Carlin.

Nov 2, 2014

Elizabeth McCracken is the guest. Her latest book is a story collection called Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and it is available now from The Dial Press.

The New York Times Book Review says

“Elizabeth McCracken knows how loss can melt reality, forever altering a person’s sense of time....In her new collection, McCracken gives brilliantly splintered life to just that kind of story....The fact that there is nothing depressing about the ubiquity of accident and disaster in Thunderstruck & Other Stories is a powerful testament to the scratchy humor and warm intelligence of McCracken’s writing....Her wisdom and wit have a moral dimension that deepens our sympathy for her straying souls.... [A] restorative, unforgettable collection.”

And Nick Hornby says

“Elizabeth McCracken is one of my favorite writers. Or, to put it another way: I’ve read everything she’s written...and there’s nothing I haven’t liked and admired enormously...She writes with acuity, soul, and a kind of easy grace that probably kills her, about characters she has created to love.... Thunderstruck showcases all the things this remarkable writer is so good at: the eccentric but illuminating metaphors, the deft characterization, the heart-lurching narrative development, the tenderness, the fantastic aphorisms....Anything new by her is an excuse for wild, drunken celebration.”

Monologue topics: mail, Christianity, Jesus, God, confusion.

 

Oct 29, 2014

Sarah Gerard is the guest. Her debut novel, Binary Star, is due out from Two Dollar Radio in January 2015.

Kate Zambreno says

"I felt a breathless intensity the whole time I read Sarah Gerard's brilliant Binary Star. I sped through it, dizzy, devastated, loving all of it."

And Jenny Offill calls it

"A bold, beautiful novel about wanting to disappear and almost succeeding. Sarah Gerard writes about love and loneliness in a new and brilliantly visceral way."

Monologue topics: Legoland, fear, masks, chaos, exhaustion, fire alarms, meth, cops, neighbors, pandemonium.

Oct 26, 2014

Lin Enger is the guest. His new novel, The High Divide, is available now from Algonquin Books. It is the official October selection of The TNB Book Club.

Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, calls it

"[A] masterfully told Western reinvention of Homer’s Odyssey...Set against a backdrop of beauty and danger, this is the moving story of a man coming to terms with his past. In its narrative simplicity and emotional directness, it is reminiscent of John Ford’s classic The Searchers."

And Library Journal, in a starred review, says

"Moving through the High Divide--'the rough country between the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers'--even as its characters move through important divides, or turning points, of their own, Enger's novel is told in beautifully exact, liquid language that wastes no time, just as one cannot afford to waste time when making a journey such as the Pope family's. Highly recommended."

Monologue topics: exhaustion, going to the doctor, Legoland, fear, loathing.

 

 

Oct 22, 2014

Diane Cook is the guest. Her debut story collection, Man V. Nature, is available now from Harper Books.

Tea Obreht says

"Man V. Nature is as close to experiencing a Picasso as literature can get: the worlds in Diane Cook’s impressive debut are bizarre, vertiginous, funny, pushed to the extreme-but just familiar enough in their nuances of the human condition to evoke an irresistible, around-the-corner reality.”

And the Boston Globe says

“Here’s a good rule: If Diane Cook wrote it, read it…Safety is tenuous, if not an illusion, in her thoughtful, unsettling, and darkly funny collection.”

Monologue topics: Kathleen Hale, Blythe Harris, don't feed trolls, Goodreads, stalking.

Oct 19, 2014

Celeste Ng is the guest. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, is now available from Penguin. 

The New York Times Book Review says

"If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now… Ng has set two tasks in this novel’s doubled heart—to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime. She does both by turning the nest of familial resentments into at least four smaller, prickly mysteries full of secrets the family members won’t share… What emerges is a deep, heartfelt portrait of a family struggling with its place in history, and a young woman hoping to be the fulfillment of that struggle. This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind—a burden you do not always survive."

And the LA Times calls it

"[A]n accomplished debut... It's also heart-wrenching. Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart."

Monologue topics: Halloween, costume parties, ebola, comedy, missed opportunities.

Oct 15, 2014

Mira Jacob is the guest. Her debut novel, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing, is now available from Random House.

Kirkus, in a starred review, says

"Comparisons of Jacob to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable; Lahiri may be more overtly profound, Jacob more willing to go for comedy, but both write with naked honesty about the uneasy generational divide among Indians in America and about family in all its permutations.”

And the Boston Globe calls it

“Beautifully wrought, frequently funny, gently heartbreaking . . . Moving forward and back in time, Jacob balances comedy and romance with indelible sorrow, and she is remarkably adept at tonal shifts. When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things.”

Monologue topics: mail, scripts, the emotional demands this podcast places on me, outtakes, ebola, The Fear, end times, zombie apocalypse.

 

Oct 12, 2014

Tod Goldberg is the guest. His new novel Gangsterland is now available from Counterpoint Press.

Kirkus, in a starred review, says

“Clearly influenced by the great Elmore Leonard, Goldberg puts his own dry comic spin on the material…Clever plotting, a colorful cast of characters, and priceless situations make this comedic crime novel an instant classic.”

And Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, says

"Goldberg injects Talmudic wisdom and a hint of Springsteen into the workings of organized crime and FBI investigative techniques and makes it all work splendidly."

Monologue topics: bothersome phrases, I wish there was something I could do.

Oct 8, 2014

Steph Cha is the guest. Her new novel, Beware Beware, is available now from Minotaur Books.

The Los Angeles Times says

“Before this cautionary tale is over, secrets will be revealed, lies within lies told, more people injured or killed and Song's core values compromised in ways that will have psychological reverberations for years, and books, to come. Nathanael West and Raymond Chandler would be proud.”

And Publishers Weekly says

“Engaging… Song soon becomes caught in a complex plot involving deception, betrayal, and revenge.  Cha follows noir conventions, with Daphne as femme fatale and Song forced into morally ambiguous choices, but she also offers a plucky heroine, warm secondary characters, and a vivid portrait of L.A.’s Koreatown.”

Monologue topics: mail, the monologue to Episode 318.

Oct 5, 2014

Merritt Tierce is the guest. Her debut novel Love Me Back is now available from Doubleday.

The Oxford American says

“What’s so compelling about this compulsively readable yet highly literary novel is not the 'unflinching' depiction of Marie’s behavior—though it’s crafted so carefully that readers want to consume each detail—but instead the beautifully plain and unsentimental access Tierce gives us to her protagonist’s interior…How rare it is to find a writer who can encapsulate a character’s sweeping motivation in a page or paragraph or single sentence…Tierce’s magnetic portrayal of a woman whose behavior is conventionally allowed only of men announces Tierce as a writer we’ve been waiting for for much too long."

And Carrie Brownstein says

“Tierce's prose possesses the force, bluntness and surprise of a sucker punch. Love Me Back is an unflinching and galvanic novel full of heart and heartache; one of my favorite books of the last few years.”

Monologue topics:  the darkness of the past week, literary media, Ed Champion, Stephen Tully Dierks, Tao Lin, Emily Gould, Porochista Khakpour, Twitter, ambivalence, flailing.

Oct 1, 2014

Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton are the guests. They are the editors of the bestselling book Women in Clothes, which features the work of more than 600 authors, including notables like Cindy Sherman, Lena Dunham, Kim Gordon, and Molly Ringwald.

Kirkus Reviews says

“Poems, interviews, pieces that read like diary or journal entries—all these responses help the editors fulfill their aims: to liberate readers from the idea that women have to fit a certain image or ideal, to show the connection between dress and ‘habits of mind,’ and to offer readers ‘a new way of interpreting their outsides.’ ‘What are my values?’ one woman asks. ‘What do I want to express?’ Those questions inform the multitude of eclectic responses gathered in this delightfully idiosyncratic book.”

And Publishers Weekly says

“Thoughtfully crafted and visually entertaining, this collection, edited by Heti, Julavits, and Shapton, uses personal reflections from 642 contributors to examine women’s relationship with clothes in a deceptively lighthearted and irreverent tone….it also inspires meaningful questions…the prose is spliced with striking visuals…[a] provocative time capsule of contemporary womanhood.”

Monologue topics: nerves, confusion, technology, not talking about literary scandal.

 

Sep 28, 2014

Sarah McCarry is the guest. She is the author of several books, and her next novel, About a Girl, is due out from St. Martin's Griffin in the summer of 2015.

Bennett Madison says

"Sarah McCarry's strange and gorgeous punk fairytales make magic accessible and imbue the everyday with the weight of myth."

And Erica Lorraine Scheidt says

"Sarah McCarry is the patron saint of girls on the edge."

Monologue topics:  Derek Jeter, envy, confusion, Clay Shirky, Amazon, Big 5 publishers, not knowing what I think about anything, mail.

Sep 24, 2014

Courtney Moreno is the guest. Her debut novel, In Case of Emergency, is available now from McSweeney's. 

Kirkus Reviews says

"In this emotionally moving, well-written, engaging novel, Moreno strikes a profound balance between the clinical logic of trauma and the personal irrationality of a young woman dealing with her demons."

And The Huffington Post says

"Reminiscent of Leslie Jamison's essay on medical acting in her collection The Empathy Exams, Courtney Moreno's book uses the coping mechanisms she learned while working as an EMT to color her narrator's painful past. Moreno confronts both physical and psychological trauma, expertly blurring the lines between the two."

Monologue topics: bad news, not voting, bad attitude, mail, leotarded.

 

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