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The Leonard Lopate Show

September’s Book: Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salman Rushdie joins us for the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club! We’re talking about his 1981 novel, Midnight’s Children. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 – the moment that India became an independent nation. His health and well being are tightly tied to his country's, and he is magically, telepathically linked to the 1,000 other children born during India's first hour of life. Salman Rushdie will answer your questions about his magical realist book, which was awarded the 1981 Booker Prize and the James Tait Prize, and it was voted the "Best of the Booker" in 1993 and in 2008.

His most recent novel, Luka and the Fire of Life has just been released in paperback.

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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 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

Miss Timmins’ School for Girls

Monday, August 08, 2011

Nayana Currimbhoy discusses her novel Miss Timmins’ School for Girls, set in a British boarding school in the hills of western India in the 1970s. Running from a scandal that disgraced her Brahmin family, Charulata Apte arrives at Miss Timmins' School for Girls in Panchgani to teach Shakespeare. It’s here that Charu's real education begins.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Underappreciated: David Markson's Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

This summer's second Underappreciated segment looks at David Markson's 1988 novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, which David Foster Wallace called “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country.” Ann Beattie, longtime admirer and friend of David Markson, and Françoise Palleau-Papin, professor of American Literature at the University of Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), discuss Markson's work.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Hangman’s Daughter

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Oliver Pötzsch discusses his novel, The Hangman’s Daughter, set in 17th-century Bavaria. It tells the story of Magdalena, the headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, who must race against the clock to prove that a midwife accused of witchcraft and murder is innocent, and simultaneously find the true killer.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Chris Adrian’s novel The Great Night

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chris Adrian describes his novel The Great Night, a mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Esmeralda Santiago's Conquistadora

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Esmeralda Santiago talks about her epic novel, Conquistadora, about a Spanish woman, Ana Larragoity Cubillas, who moves to Puerto Rico with her new husband in 1844 to run a remote sugar plantation on the island. There she faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Adam Ross on Ladies and Gentlemen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adam Ross describes his darkly compelling collection of stories about brothers, loners, lovers, and lives full of good intentions, misunderstandings, and obscured motives, Ladies and Gentlemen, the follow-up to his celebrated debut novel, Mr. Peanut.

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