"Something I’m really interested in is disconnection, in relationships and especially between family. A big part of this book is the disconnection between the Walker family. I wanted to concentrate on what characters wanted to say to each other or thought about each other that they would never actually get a chance or let themselves say. Instead of focusing on what breaks the family apart, I wanted to concentrate on what led up to it and the effects on the family. I wanted my characters to be reliving and re-seeing what happened years later, and so for a good deal of the book we’re stuck in the characters’ heads."
In this episode we get to hang with Elissa Schappell–all-around literary powerhouse/rabble rouser, book editor at Vanity Fair, and co-founder/Editor-At-Large of Tin House. We talk about her beginnings as a writer and the path she’s navigated to get to the place she’s at, places she’s lived, as well as how she has managed to overcome some personal issues and be the awesome human being she is today. This is a doozy of an episode, so make yourself a nice cool drink and settle in and enjoy.
"The trip was part of an on-going negotiation I have with independence versus interdependence—how much should I do alone? I didn’t call anyone at home for the three months I was gone and some days I didn’t say much more than a handful of words to a stranger. I wrote an email from a library every once in a while. Most of the time I was just sort of staring off at the horizon, getting weirder."
What do people mean when they call a novel “Dickensian”? A large cast of vividly drawn characters, some of them grotesques with comically descriptive names and odd tics of speech and behavior; a plucky orphan who overcomes a childhood blighted by humiliating poverty or simple lower-class misery; numerous and ingeniously interconnected subplots; panoramic shifts of location; a narrative that makes the reader finish each chapter eager to begin the next.
What started as an afternoon project has now grown into something much bigger—a global community of readers, sharing what they love, across both nonfiction and fiction. Along the way we’ve built Longreads into…