Picking up where we left off in Episode 21, with a look at Rachel Cusk's Kudos, which closes out her landmark "Outline" trilogy. At the hour mark, we move to a brief discussion of how the early season returns indicate the NBA as a whole has entered the pace-and-space era, possibly for good. Next up we'll be reading Samanta Schweblin's 2017 novel Fever Dream; grab a copy and join us!
Just in time for the start of the new NBA year (give or take a few games), we invited our old friend Lynwood Robinson as well as a new guest, Charles Chace, to talk about what to expect from the season. Which teams are overrated, underrated, who's poised to break out, and who'll regress. It's long and book-free, so if you're not up for a rangy basketball chat, join us soon for a discussion of Rachel Cusk's Kudos.
We discussed The Company She Keeps, the 1942 novel-in-stories by a young Mary McCarthy, the twentieth century intellectual who would go on to mass acclaim with 1963's The Group. The Group is great — McCarthy in general is great! — but we're here to stump for her under-read debut as a wonderful work in itself, modern and resonant and ahead of its time in so many ways. Check it out! Next up we'll be reading the Best American Short Stories 2017 anthology, for a snapshot of the, well, American short story as of last year.
It's the Age of Anxiety on today's pod, as we delve into the collected stories of Richard Yates, and then fret over Trae Young's inauspicious debut at NBA Summer League. (We transition to basketball, 46 minutes in, with talk of LeBron's move to the Lakers.) Next up is Mary McCarthy, whose famous short story "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Suit" is the centerpiece of her 1942 novel-as-linked-story-collection The Company She Keeps. Track down a copy and join us in two weeks!
Philip Roth died last month at age 85. To help us make sense of his place in American writing, we invited our friend Ben Felton, who last joined us to talk Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, to come back on to discuss The Ghost Writer, as well as Roth's work more generally.
00:00-00:35 The Ghost Writer
00:35-00:57 Roth and the question of misogyny
00:57-01:07 Roth as a Jewish writer
01:07-01:20 Roth's legacy as a writer
We'll be back in a few weeks to talk about The Collected Stories of Richard Yates, another 20th Century titan, as well as the start of NBA free agency.
For the first time in the history of the podcast, we agree on who is the best prospect in this center-heavy draft. But there are still disagreements to be had further down the list, as we weigh the potential for booms and busts. We'll be back next week for our discussion of Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer.
Another all-basketball pod, as former Tar Heel Lynwood Robinson joins us to say goodbye to the Sixers, Pelicans, Jazz, and Raptors. (He even reprises his singing of "The Great Pretender" in the Raps section!) Then we discuss the Conference Finals, with each series knotted at two games apiece at the time of recording. Next week it's back to book-chat when we tackle Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives.
This week we go to infinity and beyond with literature's most beguiling librarian, Jorge Luis Borges. After a discussion of his story "The Garden of Forking Paths," we move (at the 39 minute mark) to a check-in on the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NBA playoffs. Join un in a few weeks as we tackle Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives.
No booktalk this week. Instead, we are joined by Lynwood to run down the matchups and results of the NBA playoffs. Take a listen, if only to hear which team inspired Lynwood to burst out in song. If basketball's not your thing, we'll be back in a week or two to discuss Jorge Luis Borges' classic story "The Garden of Forking Paths." Join us!