In Where'd You Go, Bernadette, second novel from Maria Semple (former screenwriter for "Arrested Development,") Bernadette Fox is an agoraphobic and Macarthur Award-winning architectural genius who escapes from LA to Seattle in order to raise her daughter, Bee, alongside her tech-guru husband. As her unwillingness to deal with the external world drives her to rely more and more on her outsourced personal assistant in India, and the other mothers of the crunchy private school begin to plot against her, Bernadette disappears, forcing Bee to track her down using the emails, chat logs, medical records, and FBI transcripts that make the novel epistolary. The book is a legitimately hilarious satire, but also something of a marvel of structure and vision. Maria and I talked about structure, form, comedy, and God. Click 'read more' for the interview.
Rick Bass occupies a unique position in American letters. A true writer's writer, his lyrical and philosophical fiction has been awarded O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. But he's also a geologist, and an environmental activist; in addition to writing extensively on environmental issues, he also helps safeguard both the flora and fauna of his home in the Yaak Valley Forest of Montana. In his latest book, "The Black Rhinos of Namibia: Searching for Survivors in the African Desert," Bass details a trip he took into one of the world's most unchanged and unforgiving landscapes, in order to bear witness to an incredible species on the brink of extinction.
Interview after the jump.
This summer in 1972, George McGovern, the so-called candidate of "Amnesty, abortion, and acid," tapped the young, senatorial shoulder of Thomas Eagleton to be his running mate. Over the course of the next eighteen days, a pair of anonymous phone calls alleging that Eaglteon had undergone treatment for depression and exhaustion would force McGovern to publicly withdraw his selection. In Joshua Glasser's debut, "The Eighteen-Day Running Mate," he recounts every angle of the episode in vivid detail. Wonks of all stripes will be interested by the various political wranglings that went on behind the scenes, but at the book's core are two very human stories about that rare breed of politician that still appears to be a good person even after all the facts are known, and their attempts to do what is right, both for themselves and for their country.
Mr Glasser, a researcher for Bloomberg Television, and I spoke about the incident, and how it continues to reverberate in the present day. Interview after the Jump.