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Catherine Lacey and Martin Puchner

Mar 25, 2021

Feral Fiction

A Discussion with Catherine Lacey and Martin Puchner

New Books Network 2021

Novel Dialogue sends Martin Puchner (polymathic author of The Written World and most recently The Language of Thieves) out to speak with Pew author Catherine Lacey. They go a-wandering. Lacey’s earlier works include a 2018 collection of short stories, Certain American States, and two novels: The Answers in 2017 and 2014’s Nobody is Ever Missing, a delightful road novel set in New Zealand–always a sure way to win John’s admiration. Martin starts by noticing the feral through-line in Catherine’s work, a way that people escape or withdraw from socialization. And things go rapidly uphill and downhill from there. In short a rollicking rhythm prevails–you may want to listen while out rambling yourself. Even though Catherine proclaims “we are all housecats now.”

Mentioned in the Episode

  • Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
  • Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
  • Jen George, The Babysitter at Rest (The Dorothy Project)
  • Tove Ditlesen, The Copenhagen Trilogy (very dark, very wintry, very icy-but elegant)
  • P.G. Wodehouse
  • Haruki Murakami

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.

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Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.


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