David Lodge meets Franz Kafka meets Stephen King? All attempts to classify The Scapegoat, let alone to summarize what happens in this compelling and terribly troubling first novel by Sara Davis, seem destined to fail. As the author tells Duncan McCargo, her book has not always been understood by readers in the ways she imagined - but then, The Scapegoat (Farrer, Straus and Giroux 2021) is now out of her hands. In this lively conversation full of laughter, Sara explains how in her next book she hopes to achieve "a more intentionally calibrated level of confusion".
The Scapegoat tells the story of an unnamed university employee on a campus eerily reminiscent of Stanford, who struggles to maintain his grip on reality after the demise of his father and a series of strange incidents that follow - which Sara insists are nevertheless "real world and non-fantastical".
Dear reader, no online blurb can do justice to this unusual book: just listen to Sara's remarkable voice in this podcast, and then buy yourself a copy.
Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist and literature buff: his day job is directing the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Learn more here, here, here, and here.