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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.