Podcast • May 8, 2018
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 ...
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.
Podcast • February 12, 2013
Geoff Dyer would tell you he found his way into writing as a way of not having a career. With ever-ready tennis racquet in his book bag, he seems pretty much the man we all ...
Geoff Dyer would tell you he found his way into writing as a way of not having a career. With ever-ready tennis racquet in his book bag, he seems pretty much the man we all want to be when we grow up. He’s a pissed-off Englishman but light-hearted about it. He’s learned, he’s liberated. He’s prolific, he’s celebrated. And he’s very, very funny, in person as on the page. We’re making conversation here at the Key West Literary Seminar this winter.
Geoff Dyer hooked me 15 years ago with But Beautiful, an inspired set of improvisations on the sacrificial lives of jazz geniuses (Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Bud Powell) whom Dyer (astonishingly to me) had never seen or heard in life. He is famous since then for Out of Sheer Rage about his constitutional inability to write a scholar’s account D. H. Lawrence. He has served a long apprenticeship with the hero he speaks about here: the anti-critic and anti-theorist John Berger. Meantime when Dyer writes from the road about importunate Cambodian kids trying to sell him a Coke — he lifts the travel essay toward a very personal moral majesty.
What’s so individual about Geoff Dyer is the mix of amateur and expert voices — of the angry working-stiff with an Oxford degree who’s judgmental but always original on photography and poetry, history, fiction and that “foreign music” known as jazz, just for starters. He’s in the great line of stylish pubic thinkers from Hazlitt to George Scialabba, writing ever “outside his field,” because in truth he has no field. He invites and challenges all of us to pay attention to everything, to look at what we’re seeing, to get us into the act, to be touched by it.