Episode 81: Honest Fiction

It’s been a hell of a summer in WITTSville, and the guys are still trying to get their shit together. Brian is now a husband, Ben is now a landowner, and Jon is now a father. Amid all the turmoil, they find time to discuss wedding-crashing moose, single-malt free-for-alls, Paris author readings, newborn semaphore, and–better late than never–Edith Pearlman’s “Wait and See.”

Topics and Reading Discussed

  • Edith Pearlman’s “Wait and See” is online at The American Scholar.
  • When dealing with fiction writers, it’s always smart to verify any outlandish tales they tell you. In this case, Brian’s moose story checks out.
  • Ben stumbled onto a Lydia Davis / Jonathan Safran Foer reading at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. Some pics of the event are here.
  • Is Go Set a Watchman an intriguing complication of an oversimplified character or should it have never been published… or both?
  • If you were disappointed to see Atticus’ flaws in Go Set a Watchman, maybe don’t watch The Trip to Italy.
  • The Things They Carried, Jon says, is a great example of an “honest fiction.”
  • Jon’s still grumbling about All the Light We Cannot See, and while he liked The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan a lot more than Anthony Doerr’s novel, he sees in both books the “creaky hinge” of the fiction writer trying to wrangle a complicated plot into submission.
  • Beglin, Bender, and Pearlman… quite a lineup.
  • Hold the fucking phone! Everything you thought you knew about shrimp vision is wrong!