“A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.” Such is the opening of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), the novel that won the National Book Award but repulsed the Pulitzer Prize Committee. Pynchon’s special blend of paranoia and postmodernism made him one of the hallmark authors of the Cold War era. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Pynchon’s life and works, then is joined by a contemporary author, Antoine Wilson (Mouth to Mouth), for a discussion of his writing process and his recent trip to Pynchonland.
ANTOINE WILSON is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Los Angeles. His website is: AntoineWilson.com.
Additional listening suggestions:
In this episode, we take a look at the classic twentieth-century American short story, “The Lottery” (1948) by Shirley Jackson. Why did it cause such an uproar? Who banned it and why? And how well does it hold up today? We’ll be discussing all this and more with special guest Evie Lee.
SHIRLEY JACKSON was born in 1916 in San Francisco, California, before leaving to attend college at Syracuse University. After marrying her college sweetheart, whom she met at the university’s literary magazine, she resettled in Vermont and began her brief but highly successful literary career. Her best works, like The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and “The Lottery,” continue to provoke readers with their shocking twists and disturbing effects. Although she was only 48 when she died of a heart condition in 1965, she left behind six novels, two memoirs, and over 200 short stories.
NOTE: “The Lottery” is one of the most spoilable stories ever written. But no need to fear: we will be reading the story in its entirety before our discussion.
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For 70 years, the people of North Korea have lived through a totalitarian nightmare – and those of us in the outside world have had little access to their experience. How have generations of oppression and terror affected the psychology of everyday people? How do they feel about their situation? What are their hopes? What are their dreams? How do they think, and how do they live? Like so much else about North Korea, these questions were shrouded in darkness…until now. Terry Hong, reader extraordinaire and the curator of the website BookDragon, joins us to talk about an astonishing new development: the publication of short stories by North Korea’s first dissident writer.
The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea, by “Bandi” (preorder only until March 7, 2017)
Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea, by Jang Jin-sung
Recommended Books about North Korea:
Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden
How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee
A Kim Jong-il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer
The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee
Contact the host at email@example.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).
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On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.
“Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
“Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.