This is an unlocked, bonus segment of Open Source. You can hear weekly conversations and extended interviews like this one by subscribing and supporting our work on Patreon.
The writer Zadie Smith first clued us into the work of debut novelist Lisa Halliday, who spoke with us recently about her fantastic new book, and which we present here as a special podcast. Here’s how Chris set the scene of the conversation:
Lisa Halliday has written what feels like something new under the sun of American fiction. You’re going to hear Halliday reading from this nimble, quick, life-like book, titled: Asymmetry.
It’s named for its three mis-matching sections, which come to fit intricately and intimately together. First is a racy tale of an apprenticeship that is also a love affair between an old author (sounds like Philip Roth) and an aspiring young one (sounds like Lisa Halliday—though the names have been changed). Next comes a story that the young woman writes, on assignment almost, outside her comfort zone, about an American Muslim in the Iraq War. The third section circles back to let the old writer present himself anew being interviewed on “Desert Island Discs,” the age-old BBC program that lets guests talk about their favorite music, and digress till they’ve stripped themselves naked. In all three sections of Asymmetry, words move like the wind.