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Fiction

The Leonard Lopate Show

Jonathan Franzen Talks about Freedom

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jonathan Franzen talks about his latest novel, Freedom. It’s an epic of contemporary love and marriage that comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty—the thrills of teenage lust, the compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. It tells the story of Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to come to terms with an ever more confusing world.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Tony D’Souza on His Novel Mule

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tony D’Souza talks about Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight, the story of a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through the recession. It captures the anxieties of young people facing a vanishing American Dream and of entering into the criminal world.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Kevin Wilson on The Family Fang

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kevin Wilson tells us about his new novel, The Family Fang, about performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang, and their children Buster and Annie, who unwillingly starred in their parents’ madcap pieces growing up. Now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Tahmima Anam's Novel The Good Muslim

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bangladeshi novelist Tahmima Anam discusses second novel, The Good Muslim. It tells the story about the rise of Islamic radicalism in Bangladesh, seen through the intimate lens of a family, set at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Tom Perrotta's Novel The Leftovers

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tom Perrotta discusses his latest novel, The Leftovers. It tells what happens when neighbors, friends and lovers suddenly vanish in an event known as the Sudden Departure. It describes what the bewildered citizens of a town called Mapleton go through when people suddenly disappear, and how everything changes—marriages, friendships, as well as the relationships between parents and children.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Julie Otsuka's Novel The Buddha in the Attic

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Julie Otsuka talks about her new novel, The Buddha in the Attic . It tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. She traces their extraordinary lives from journey by boat to San Francisco, to their tremulous first nights as new wives. Once they arrive in this country, they struggle to master a new language and adapt to a new culture, and it looks at their challenges as mothers raising children, who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history.

Hear Jane Kaczmarek reading from The Buddha in the Attic on WNYC's Selected Shorts

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The Leonard Lopate Show

9/11 in Fiction

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Novelists Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland; Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin; and Julia Glass, author of The Whole World Over, discuss how they addressed 9/11 in their work, the challenges of writing about the attacks and their aftermath, and how 9/11 has influenced their writing, the stories they wanted to tell, and fiction as a whole over the last ten years.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underappreciated: Ann Petry's The Street

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farah Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, discusses Ann Petry's 1946 novel, The Street, for our final Underappreciated segment of the summer. The Street is about a young single black mother who is trying to save money in order to move her son away from the influence of 116th Street. When it was initially published, it made Petry one of the first female African-American authors to receive significant critical and popular acclaim. Lately, the novel been getting more critical attention for its representation of gender politics within Harlem. It also provides a rich portrait of Harlem at that time—its neighborhoods, business districts, bars, and music clubs, making it more than simply a protest novel.

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The New Yorker: Out Loud

Jay Rubin on working with Haruki Murakami

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jay Rubin on working with Haruki Murakami.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Luminarium

Monday, August 29, 2011

Alex Shakar talks about his new novel, Luminarium. The story is an examination of the way we live now, and the role technology and spirituality play in shaping our reality. It also looks at the bond between brothers and the redemptive possibilities of love.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jo Nesbø on His Novel The Snowman

Friday, August 26, 2011

Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø talks about his latest novel, The Snowman. It’s the seventh book in his Harry Hole series, about a Norwegian detective. In this story, he’s investigating crimes that appear to be by Norway’s first serial killer.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Peter Spiegelman's Novel Thick as Thieves

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peter Spiegelman talks about his new novel, Thick as Thieves. Diamonds, money-laundering, and extortion go into a timed-to-the-minute scheme that unfurls across South America, Miami, and Grand Cayman Island.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Helen Schulman on This Beautiful Life

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Helen Schulman discusses her new novel, This Beautiful Life. It tells the story of what happens when a 15-year-old at a private school in Manhattan receives—then forwards to a friend—a sexually explicit video that an eighth-grade admirer sent to him. Within hours, the video has gone viral. The ensuing scandal threatens to shatter his family’s sense of security and identity and, ultimately, their happiness.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underappreciated: L. J. Davis's A Meaningful Life

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For this week’s Underappreciated segment, Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City, discusses L. J. Davis's 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life. It’s about a failed writer who attempts to channel his creative energy into real estate, in the form of a decaying Brooklyn mansion-turned-rooming house he buys in the late 1960s. The novel raises questions about gentrification that are still relevant today. Lethem wrote the introduction for New York Review Books release of the novel, grew up down the block from Davis in Boerum Hill.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jim Shepard on You Think That’s Bad

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jim Shepard tells us about his wildly diverse collection of observant stories, You Think That’s Bad: Stories. His writing shows the vastness of human experience—from the fringes and lonely pinnacles to the hopelessly mediocre and desperately below average—with brilliant scientists, reluctant soldiers, workaholic artists, female explorers, depraved murderers, and deluded losers.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Ben Loory's Stories for Nighttime and Some for Day

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ben Loory discusses his collection of wry and witty, dark and perilous contemporary fables. Stories for Nighttime and Some for Day tells the stories of people—and monsters and trees and octopi—who are motivated by the same fears and desires that isolate and unite us all.

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The Takeaway

Random House to Publish Seven Rare Dr. Seuss Stories

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dr. Seuss fans, rejoice. This fall, seven rare Seuss stories, which were previously printed in Redbook, will be published in book form. The stories — which he wrote between 1950 and 1951 — have fantastically Seussian titles: "The Bippolo Seed," "Zinniga-Zanniga," "Tadd and Todd," and "Gustav the Goldfish." The compilation is called "The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss," and Random House is publishing it in late September.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Amy Waldman on The Submission

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amy Waldman discusses her new novel, The Submission . It tells the story of a jury in Manhattan called to select a memorial design for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. When the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name, they discover he is an American Muslim. Their choice casts them into roiling debate about grief, art, Islam, and how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Nina Darnton on An African Affair

Friday, August 12, 2011

Journalist Nina Darnton talks about her debut novel, An African Affair, set in the mid-1990s flux of worldwide insurrections and war. It tells the story of a New York journalist who moves to Lagos to follow a trail of corruption, drug smuggling, and murder after the assassination of a prominent Nigerian politician.

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The Takeaway

Summer Book Club: Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our summer book club continues today with host John Hockenberry's first pick for August. John sees summer reading as an opportunity for challenge. He spent one summer reading the Russian literature, and the following summer he devoted his reading to Charles Dickens. This summer, as the tenth anniversary of September 11 approaches, John decided it was time to tackle a few of the recent novels that deal with that tragic day. His first pick is Jonathan Safran Foer’s "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." The novel follows nine-year-old Oskar Schell in the years after his father dies in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Foer sat down with John to discuss his 2005 novel.

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