Maureen Corrigan, writing for The Washington Post, says
“[The] grim yet undeniably fascinating last act of Fitzgerald’s life is the subject of Stewart O’Nan’s gorgeous new novel. . .West of Sunset is a pretty fine Hollywood novel, too, but it’s an even finer novel about a great writer’s determination to keep trying to do his best work.”
And George Saunders says
“O'Nan is an incredibly versatile and charming writer. This novel, which imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's troubled time in Hollywood (with cameos by Dorothy Parker, Bogie, and Hemingway), takes up (like much of O'Nan's work) that essential conundrum of grace struggling with paucity. One brilliant American writer meditating on another--what's not to love?”
Monologue topics: paranoia, pregnancy, fear, hovering, mail.
Halle Butler is the guest. Her debut novel, Jillian, is available now from Curbside Splendor.
Lindsay Hunter says
"This book is incredible. The deadpan way it nails what it is to be a human who lies to herself and tells different lies to everyone else makes me want to laugh and scream. It is hilarious and weird, my two favorite qualities in a book."
And Kirkus Reviews says
"[Jillian] offers up its characters for hatred and ridicule with such energy, obsessive detail and hopelessness that the reader can't help but read on, through exasperating flinches of sympathy and recognition. A novel that reads like rubbernecking or a junk-food binge, compelling a horrified fascination and bleak laughter in the face of outrageously painted everyday sadness."
Monologue topics: thanks, worry, sleeplessness, corporate pitchman fantasies, idealism, crazy people, Starbucks, Valentine's Day, my dog, jokes that fail to land.
Porochista Khakpour is the guest. Her novel The Last Illusion is now available from Bloomsbury.
Claire Messud says
“Utterly original and compelling, Porochista Khakpour's The Last Illusion weaves Iranian myth with very contemporary American neurosis to create a bittersweet poetry all its own. This ambitious, exciting literary adventure is at once grotesque, amusing, deeply sad—and wonderful, too.”
And Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it
"An audaciously ambitious novel that teeters along a tightrope but never falls off."
Monologue topics: big news, superstition, not wanting to be dominated by superstition despite demonstrably being dominated by superstition by knocking wood repeatedly.
Kitty is the guest. She is a rapper/musician whose latest EP, Frostbite, is now available.
"Love is pain, and nobody understands that quite like this suburban teen-rap every-girl. Pryde went viral with ["Okay Cupid"]...a homemade mumblecore hit, in the voice of a bored kid from Florida. It's full of wit ("It's my party, couldn't cry if I wanted to") and mall-rat ambience, as she waits for her boyfriend's drunk-dials at 3:30 a.m."
And The New York Times says
"She doesn’t rap because it’s funny or novel, but rather because it’s simply the best and most comfortable tool available to her. The results so far, while almost no one has been watching, have the intimacy and comfort of private recordings. They transfix."