Jennifer Egan and Ivan KreilkampJan 6, 2022
Jennifer Egan with Ivan Kreilkamp
Fiction as Streaming, Genre as Portal (Novel Dialogue crossover, JP)
New Books Network 2022
This week on Recall this Book, another delightful crossover episode from our sister podcast Novel Dialogue, which puts scholars and writers together to discuss the making of novels and what to make of them. (If you want to hear more, RtB 53 featured Nobel Orhan Pamuk, RtB 54 brought in Helen Garner, and in RtB 72 we haveCaryl Phillips). Who better to chat with John and Jennifer Egan--prolific and prize-winning American novelist--than Ivan Kreilkamp? The distinguished Indiana Victorianist showed his Egan expertise last year in his witty book, A Visit from the Goon Squad Reread.
Jennifer Egan © Pieter M. van Hattem
Their conversation ranges widely over Egan’s oeuvre–not to mention 18th and 19th century literature. Trollope, Richardson and Fielding are praised and compared to modern phenomena like TikTok and gamers streaming (including gamers streaming chess, a very special instance of getting inside someone else’s thought process). The PowerPoint chapter in Goon Squad gets special treatment, and tantalizing details from Egan’s forthcoming novel, The Candy House (April, 2022) make an appearance. Egan discusses her authorial impulse towards camouflage, her play with genre’s relationship to specialized lingos and argots–and the way a genre’s norms and structure can function like a “lifeline” and also a “portal.”
Mentioned in the Episode
- Jennifer Egan: Visit from the Goon Squad; Look at Me; Manhattan Beach; The Keep
- Samuel Richardson: Clarissa; Pamela
- Henry Fielding, Shamela
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
- Patrick O’Brian (e.g. Master and Commander)
- Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat
Elizabeth Ferry is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: email@example.com.