Science fiction master Ursula K. Le Guin talks about her two-volume short story retrospective, just out from Small Beer Press: THE UNREAL AND THE REAL. And murder mystery writer Archer Mayor talks about writing police procedurals and his latest in the Joe Gunther series, PARADISE CITY. Continue reading
Louise Erdrich talks about her powerful new novel, THE ROUND HOUSE. It is a finalist for the 2012 national book award for fiction. And economist Richard Wolff discusses his new book, OCCUPY THE ECONOMY. It’s about the crisis of capitalism and what to do about it.
Junot Diaz talks about his collection of short stories, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER and Daniel Lang Levitsky talks about the collection of writings, DREAMING IN PUBLIC: Building the Occupy Movement. Also, a clip from last year’s interview with Occupy organizer and author, Marina Sitrin.
Andrew Nagorski talks about his book, HITLERLAND, a first-ever account of the American eyewitnesses to Hitler’s rise to power. And novelist Jonathan Rabb discusses his latest in the Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner series, THE SECOND SON. It’s about a Berlin detective in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. Continue reading
Steve Volk talks about the paranormal and his fascinating book, FRINGE-OLOGY: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t; Kim Tredick talks about the “summer slide” and BrainQuest; and Drew Adamek reviews THE HUNGER ANGEL by Herta Müller. Continue reading
Novelist Cynthia Neale talks about NORAH: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York. And Kevin O’Hara talks about his new memoir, A LUCKY IRISH LAD. It’s about growing up as an Irish immigrant in Massachusetts.
Michael David Lukas talks about his novel, THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL. It’s the story of a young girl of astonishing talents who changes the course of the Ottoman Empire. And Thrity Umrigar tells us about her new novel, THE WORLD WE FOUND. Four college friends from Bombay India reconnect decades later when one of them falls gravely ill — and find their lives profoundly changed. Continue reading
We hear clips from five of the top ten shows of 2011, including novelists Tahmima Anam, and Teju Cole, journalist James Kaplan, memoirist Susan Rosenberg and marine ecologist Carl Safina. We also tell you about five other show episodes that made the list.
Francesca Rheannon talks with novelist Valerie Martin about her literary influences, writing about women, and writing historical fiction. Martin lists Flaubert, Albert Camus and Stephen Crane as influences when she was beginning her literary career. It’s an eclectic group that showed her the possibilities and range of writing.
Brian Kitely talks about his fascinating novel about Northampton, Massachusetts THE RIVER GODS. Historian Kerry Buckley talks about A PLACE CALLED PARADISE, the collection of essays about Northampton he edited. And Abenaki storyteller and researcher, Marge Bruchac gives a tour of “native Northampton.”
In the local parlance of western Massachusetts, the phrase “The River Gods” refers to the group of powerful men who held sway over the business and political life of the towns of the Connecticut River Valley region from the 17th and into the 18th century. Northampton was one of those towns and it’s the setting for my guest Brian Kitely’s novel, THE RIVER GODS.
Written in a series of short vignettes, the novel shifts back and forth in time to reveal glimpses of the town’s history, as well as the personal history of the author himself — often seen through his child’s eye. The reader meets the fiery preacher Jonathan Edwards, the husband of accused witch Goody Parsons, Sojourner Truth and other notable and unknown individuals from Northampton’s history.
One reviewer called it “a luminous, perfectly sculpted novel whose sentences flow as easily through the mind of a nine-year old boy in 1960s America as they do that of an 18th century Puritan divine.”
Brian Kitely teaches creative writing at the University of Denver. In addition to THE RIVER GODS, he is the author of two other novels, STILL LIFE WITH INSECTS and I KNOW MANY SONGS, BUT I CANNOT SING, as well as two books of writing exercises.
A few years ago in the dead of winter, Abenaki storyteller and scholar Marge Bruchac took Francesca on a fascinating tour of what might be termed “native Northampton”: the places and traces where the native Algonquian tribes of the region made their home at the great bend of the Connecticut River where later the English colonists founded Northampton. The Indians called it, variously, Nonotuck or Norwottuck.
They first went to Fort Hill, the very place Brian Kitely lived as a child and that figures in his novel, THE RIVER GODS. Then they headed for Hospital Hill, where the state mental hospital used to be — and some of its imposing structures still stand — and where the Indians planted their fields of corn. Bruchac explains that the traces of native American life are to be found in the Yankee culture that succeeded it.
Marge Bruchac is the co-author of the book 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, published in 2001. She also contributed a chapter to a marvelous collection of historical essays about Northampton that were gathered into the book edited by the following guest, Kerry Buckley.
A PLACE CALLED PARADISE came out in 2004, the year the town celebrated its 350th anniversary. I spoke that year with the book’s editor, Kerry Buckley. He’s the executive director of Historic Northampton, a museum of regional history and culture from the contact period to the present. It’s a collection of essays about the history of Northampton, MA, from the time of native peoples lived here and called it Norwottuck to the 20th century.
Novelist Jennifer Haigh talks about her terrific new novel, FAITH. Then Dr. Kristin Neff discusses her book, SELF-COMPASSION: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Finally, a review of Siri Hustvedt’s THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN.