We ponder the depths of the satire and self-awareness in Andrew Martin's 2018 debut novel Early Work. Fifty minutes in, pivoting off a scene in the book in which its characters watch James Harden in the 2015 Western Conference Finals, we discuss Harden's astonishing level of play over the last month, and whether that means he'll be usurping the MVP crown from Giannis come season's end.
On this episode we discuss Gabe Habash's 2017 novel Stephen Florida, which leads us to wonder what we mean when we say a book is "voicey." Around the 59 minute mark, we revisit some of our preseason NBA predictions to see what we got right and what we got wrong. Don't miss Dončić Corner (1hr 6 mins), wherein Jesse describes what it was like to see Luka Dončić up close and personal in Charlotte earlier this week. Next up is Andrew Martin's Early Work -- join us!
In this episode we chat about the novel Eileen, before pivoting, at the 36 minute mark, to an appreciation of Luka Dončić, the Slovenian phenom currently taking over the NBA and making the Dallas Mavericks appointment television. Next up, we'll be reading and discussing Gabe Habash's novel Stephen Florida.
On today's show, we discuss Schweblin's seriously creepy novel Fever Dream, which was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker prize. We highly recommend it, although you may need to sleep with the lights on afterwards. 47 minutes in, we chat about the Jimmy Butler trade and the Draymond-Durant dust-up, and how to determine the cost-benefit of star players with a history of making life difficult for others in the locker room as they approach their third contract.
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.