London Review Bookshop Podcast
Perry Anderson and John Lanchester: Powell v. Proust
In Different Speeds, Same Furies, Perry Anderson measures the achievement of Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time against Proust’s more celebrated In Search of Lost Time – and finds Powell to be superior in certain key respects. Anderson discusses why a comparison between two writers at once so similar and dissimilar sheds new light on their greatest work, and literary construction more generally. He was joined by novelist and LRB contributing editor John Lanchester, for whom both writers have been lifelong touchstones.
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Nicole Flattery & Claire-Louise Bennett: Nothing Special01:04:10New York in the late 1960s: Mae escapes a run-down an apartment, an alcoholic mother and her mother’s occasional boyfriend to a new life as a typist for Andy Warhol, transcribing conversations with his friends and associates to provide the material for an unconventional novel. A mordantly funny investigation of celebrity, obsession, womanhood and sexuality, Nothing Special (Bloomsbury) is itself an unconventional debut novel, following on from Flattery’s acclaimed short story collection Show Them a Good Time. Nicole Flattery discusses her novel with Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond and Checkout 19.
Brenda Shaughnessy & Amy Key: Liquid Flesh53:38Brenda Shaughnessy’s Liquid Flesh (Bloodaxe) gathers together poems from across her first five collections, as thrilling and unpredictable as any contemporary American poet. Writing about her work in the Boston Review, Richard Howard says that ‘when anything is as fresh as this diction, as free as these associations, as fraught as these passions, it is not descriptions or definitions which are wanted but the thing itself, the new words in new places, the necessary instigations’. Brenda Shaughnessy was in conversation with Amy Key, whose second collection, Isn’t Forever, came out with Bloodaxe in 2018, and whose new book inspired by Joni Mitchell's Blue, is forthcoming in spring 2023.
Ruth Padell and Sean Borodale: Watershed01:02:33In Ruth Padel’s latest pamphlet, Watershed, the poet reflects on the natural world, on water, and on the psychology of denialism, particularly where it concerns the climate crisis. Padel was joined in reading and conversation by Sean Borodale, whose latest pamphlet is Re-Dreaming Sylvia Plath as a Queen Bee.Find more events at the Bookshop: lrb.me/eventspodBuy a signed copy of Watershed: lrb.me/watershedbookOr a copy of Re-Dreaming Sylvia Plath...: lrb.me/plathbeebook
Don Paterson & Declan Ryan: Toy Fights55:02In Toy Fights poet Don Paterson recounts his childhood in working-class Dundee. This is a book about family, money and music but also about schizophrenia, hell, narcissists, debt and the working class, anger, swearing, drugs, books, football, love, origami, the peculiar insanity of Dundee, sugar, religious mania, the sexual excesses of the Scottish club band scene and, more generally, the lengths we go to not to be bored. ‘A tremendously engaging memoir’ writes William Boyd, ‘seasoned with Don Paterson's customary wit, total recall and love of language. A classic of its kind.’ Paterson talks about the book with poet Declan Ryan, whose whose debut collection, Crisis Actor, will be published by Faber in July.
Ian Patterson & Keston Sutherland: Shell Vestige Disputed57:33Ian Patterson, in both poetry and prose, revels in language, its possibilities, absurdities and contradictions. He joined fellow poet Keston Sutherland for conversation at the Bookshop, and to read from and present his latest collection Shell Vestige Disputed.Find more events at the Bookshop: lrb.me/eventspodBuy Shell Vestige Disputed: lrb.me/ianpattersonpod
Blake Morrison & Cathy Rentzenbrink: Two Sisters55:3330 years after he reinvented the family memoir with And When Did You Last See Your Father? poet, critic and novelist Blake Morrison returns to the subject of his family in Two Sisters (The Borough Press) which reflects on the recent deaths of his two sisters as well as on the often fraught relationships of siblings in history and literature. Morrison was in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Everyone is Still Alive (Phoenix).
Sophie Mackintosh & Rebecca Watson: Cursed Bread47:25Based on the true story of an unsolved mystery, Sophie Mackintosh’s new novel, Cursed Bread (Hamish Hamilton), centres on a small village community upturned by the arrival of a glamourous couple. Jo Hamya calls the book‘sensuous and haunted, like Madame Bovary reworked as a ghost story’. Mackintosh was in conversation with Rebecca Watson, author of Little Scratch (Faber).
Brian Dillon & Jennifer Higgie: Affinities01:13:23In Affinities, a series of linked essays, Brian Dillon investigates what it might mean for a thing to be like something else, and what it might mean for things to be connected even when they are nothing like one another. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Queen Mary, University of London, Dillon’s writing is always surprising, and revelatory. Expect both revelations and surprises.Dillon was joined in conversation by the writer Jennifer Higgie, whose latest book is The Other Side: A Journey into Women, Art and the Spirit World.Buy Affinities: lrb.me/affinitiesbookFind more events at the Bookshop: lrb.me/eventspod
Clare Bucknell & Rosemary Hill: The Treasuries52:41Fellow of All Souls, Oxford and regular LRB contributor Clare Bucknell argues in The Treasuries: Poetry Anthologies and the Making of British Culture (Head of Zeus) that the selective way in which poetry has been presented over the past three centuries tells a fascinating story about the democratisation of literature, class, gender, politics and nationalism. She talks about it with another regular LRB contributor, social and architectural historian Rosemary Hill.