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The Leonard Lopate Show Book Club: Jennifer Egan's Look at Me

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jennifer Egan joins us to talk about her novel, Look at Me, the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club’s July selection. Look at Me, published in 2001, was a National Book Award finalist, and it explores the American obsession with image and self-invention. A fashion model named Charlotte Swenson suffers injuries in a car accident that leave her face so badly shattered that it takes 80 titanium screws to reassemble it. She is still beautiful but is oddly unrecognizable. Egan intertwines Charlotte’s narrative with the stories of other casualties of our infatuation with image—a teenaged girl starting a dangerous secret life, an alcoholic private eye, and an enigmatic stranger preparing a staggering blow against American society.

We hope you've been reading it! Participate in the conversation! Leave a question for Jennifer Egan below!

Guests:

Jennifer Egan
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Comments [6]

Norman Isaacson from Warwick, NY

For Ms. Egan: (on Lopate's show 7/14/11)

You mentioned a book - 1960's by Daniel Boorsun or something like that. Maybe you called it "The Image".. you referenced it quickly and I never got a handle on the names. Please tell me the name of the book and author. Thank you!

Jul. 14 2011 04:26 PM
Nick from Montclair, NJ

Could you elaborate on the character of Moose Metcalf, a little more, because he seems seems to share affinities--in that he can't deal with postmodern culture--with Michael West, although with a very different intention.

Jul. 14 2011 12:56 PM
Brad Hammonds from NYC

I was intrigued by the homeless character in your novel. Was he based on a real person?

Jul. 14 2011 12:54 PM

Just curious, why is the author interested in Rockford, Ill?

Jul. 14 2011 12:44 PM
A listener from Brooklyn

One of the themes of the novel seems to be changing so much that you don't quite recognize yourself -- it happens in one way or another to many of the characters in the novel, especially the 3 main characters.
Was that something you set out to explore, or a theme that emerged as you wrote the novel?

Jul. 14 2011 12:27 PM
Corinne Grinapol from Brooklyn, NY

In the decade since Look at Me has been published, the interest in the fictionalization of people's real lives for public consumption--a subject you treat in the novel--has only increased. How has the current experience of social networking and reality television affected your views on this topic since the book's publication?

Jul. 14 2011 09:58 AM

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