Dan Chaon is the guest. He is the acclaimed author of several books, including the story collection Among the Missing, a finalist for the National Book Award, Stay Awake, and You Remind Me of Me.
The Boston Globe calls him
"The modern day John Cheever."
And the New York Times Book Review calls his work
Monologue topics: complaining, Twitter, robots, simplicity, second-guessing.
Stuart Dybek is the guest. He is the award-winning author of several books of fiction and poetry, including Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, Streets in Their Own Ink, and I Sailed With Magellan.
George Saunders says
"[Stuart Dybek] somehow manages to conjure up beautiful, detailed imitations of real America, and then infuse them with so much surreal truth that they read like myths or fairy tales. Like the Chicago he often writes about, his work is full of genuine sentiment, and edge, and beauty. One of the most soulful writers in America, and a national treasure."
And the Chicago Tribune calls him
"A magician comparable to Eudora Welty and Joy Williams."
Monologue topics: Episode 300, wondering if it means anything, writing in coffee shops, guilt.
Edwidge Danticat raves
“Reading Cynthia Bond’s Ruby, you can’t help but feel that one day this book will be considered a staple of our literature, a classic. Lush, deep, momentous, much like the people and landscape it describes, Ruby enchants not just with its powerful tale of lifelong quests and unrelenting love, but also with its exquisite language. It is a treasure of a book, one you won’t soon forget.”
And the Dallas Morning News says
"In Ruby, Bond has created a heroine worthy of the great female protagonists of Toni Morrison…and Zora Neale Hurston… Bond’s style of writing is as magical as an East Texas sunrise, with phrases so deftly carved, the reader is often distracted from the brutality described by the sheer beauty of the language.”
Monologue topics: mail, war, peace, duality, mocking myself.
Jesse Ball says
"To Jemc the world is a place where each person, every human cypher, must devour another. What then can we do, if we are devoured, if we are overcome with our own devouring? Her escape plan is inspired and ancient -- to become protean, to dwell in costume after costume, parcelling away the truth that can be found in each. But where is it hid? Ask her, though she may not say."
And Lindsay Hunter says
"Jac Jemc is an artisan. A Different Bed Every Time stays with you long after you've finished reading. Every story is painstakingly crafted with words and imagery that are honed and placed just so, creating a mosaic you feel grateful, exhilarated, thrilled to experience."
Monologue topics: awards shows, the word "lil," humanity, world peace, fuckedness.
Kirkus Reviews says
"Trent’s years as a poet serve her well in this heavily atmospheric novel, which deftly conjures up both evil and the small town’s complicit reluctance to face its past."
And Kyle Minor says
"Echo Lake is more than just a good debut novel. It is the coming-out party for Letitia Trent, the new poet-queen of neo-noir."
Monologue topics: awards shows, celebrities, awkwardness, The Dude, Jeff Bridges.
Leesa Cross-Smith is the guest. Her debut story collection Every Kiss a War is now available from Mojave River Press. It was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award and the Iowa Short Fiction Award.
Roxane Gay says
“Leesa Cross-Smith is a consummate storyteller who uses her formidable talents to tell the oft-overlooked stories of people living in that great swath of place between the left and right coasts. She offers thrilling turns of phrase like, 'His mouth tasted like thousand-page Russian novels I’d never read,' or 'let your smeary mouth be his question mark.' Where she is most stunning is in the endings of each of the 27 stories in Every Kiss a War, creating crisp, evocative moments that will linger long after you’ve read this book’s very last word.”
Monologue topics: mail, friends, IRL communities, fostering connectivity, being social.
Melissa Broder says
“In this hilarious novel, Morissette meditates on finding and making meaning in a time when distractions coalesce to form the new and glossy void. The deconstruction of regrets, an email with feelings and the screaming universe cement Morissette as both a master of the absurd and a seer of the real. I lol’d.”
And Dazed and Confused calls him
"Canada's Alt Lit poster boy."
Monologue topics: being late, rushing, being unprepared, Alt Lit initiation, Frank Hinton's genitals.
The Millions says
"When a group of thirty-something parents gather at a ramshackle beach house called Eden, no serpent is required for the sins, carnal and otherwise, to pile up. Fierro, founder of Brooklyn's Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, argued in The Millions last year that writers need to put the steam--and the human sentiment--back into sex scenes in literary novels. You may want to keep Fierro's debut novel on a high shelf, away from children and prudish literary snobs."
And Megan Abbott says
"Julia Fierro’s Cutting Teeth offers immense rewards to readers far beyond those who will identify with the frantic, conflicted, yearning parents who fill the novel (though many will). It’s for any reader seeking a tale rich in character, strong in voice and filled with both incisive social critique and a luminous generosity of spirit, a rare combination indeed."
Monologue topics: mail, Labor Day, childbirth.
Kirkus Reviews calls it
“An impressive collection, cleareyed and penetrating.”
And Booklistcalls it
"Intensely readable, and enormously entertaining.”
Monologue topics: vacation, relaxation, terrifying hippies, chickens, dancing white women, Coldplay.