The Virtual Memories Show

Charif Majdalani has been called the Lebanese Proust, thanks to his series of novels chronicling the modern history of his home country. He joins the show this week to celebrate the first American publication of his wonderful novel, Moving the Palace (New Vessel Press). We talk about the the dynamic of French and Arabic languages, Lebanon's fixation on the eternal present and its sense of living under the volcano, his process of escaping his literary influences, why he needed to get away to France to gain perspective on home, and what he wants to do on his first trip to America. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_215_-_Charif_Majdalani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT

Poet, novelist and essayist Wallis Wilde-Menozzi returns to the show to talk about her novel, Toscanelli's Ray, the ways Italy has changed in her four decades there, her recent work in narrative medicine, survival tips from living through the Berlusconi era, writing a polyphonic novel of Florence in the '90s and hearing how those voices have changed, differences between her Italian and American students, balancing poetry and prose, her favorite book of the Divine Comedy (we also get into why I like a different one), accidentally winning a DAR award when she was a schoolgirl, what foods she misses when she's in the US, thinking in Italian, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_214_-_Wallis_Wilde-Menozzi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

Why are our buildings crushing our quality of life? Sarah Williams Goldhagen joins the show to talk about her new book, Welcome To Your World (Harper), and how we can live in a better built environment. We get into cognitive neuroscience and the theory of mind-body-environment consciousness, the perils of lowest-common-denominator construction and design, the perils of the "starchitect" phenomenon, the limits of Jane Jacobs' urban proscriptions, the experience of going on urban planning vacations as a kid with her dad, how she and her family wound up living in a converted church in East Harlem, the challenges of architecture criticism, how her book was predicted by one of my favorite 1980s comics, the planning process a year-long around-the-world trip, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_213_-_Sarah_Williams_Goldhagen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm EDT

Legendary author (and longtime pal) Samuel R. Delany joins the show to talk about the sex lives of older gay men, how he's taken to Facebook, how losing his library is akin to lobotomization, the writers he misses, Star Wars, his attraction to homeless men, retiring from teaching, the one thing he wanted to teach students but was never allowed to, the split between good writing and award-winning writing, and his passive-aggressive technique for getting me to organize a breakfast brunch for him. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_212_-_Samuel_R._Delany.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

Award-winning illustrator John Cuneo joins the show to talk about his new work, Not Waving But Drawing (Fantagraphics Underground), the arc of 40 years of work and art and artwork, the process of moving from a collection of mannerisms to a style, his insecurity about his working-class upbringing and lack of artistic education, the cliff-diving aspect of the blank sheet of paper and why good drawing is courage, keeping his son out of the family business, the dynamic of New Yorker illustrators vs. cartoonists, what brought him to Woodstock, what keeps him there, and the bizarrely storied history of his home, why so many dirty pictures, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_211_-_John_Cuneo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

I get over my insecurity about younger authors and talk with Tony Tulathmiutte about his debut novel, Private Citizens! We discuss his critique of the idea of voice-of-a-generation novels, the heavy and weird expectations of being an Asian-American writer, the impossibility of satire, what he got out of his years working in Silicon Valley, writing good bad sex, and his discovery that Jonathan Franzen thinks he uses "overly interesting verbs". • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_210_-_Tony_Tulathimutte.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

For more than a decade, Princeton literature professor Jeff Nunokawa has posted beautiful daily essays using Facebook Notes. We talk about how he discovered that form, the audience that grew around his work, writing without links, the experience of producing a print edition of the notes, and his ambivalence over the final product. We get into the negative review that affirmed all of his self-doubts and pushed him toward his goal of becoming transparent, the benefits of consolatory drivel, dreaming of the next day's note and making writing a source of pleasure, his mixed-race heritage (his dad's Japanese, his mom's caucasian-American) and his childhood in the 60s, his 30 years at Princeton, his joy at living in the same world as Torres and Ronaldo, and why you have to feel homesick before you feel home. Oh, and there's a heartbreaking story of how he came out to his parents, plus I do a lot more talking than usual. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_209_-_Jeff_Nunokawa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26pm EDT

New Directions publisher Barbara Epler joins the show to talk about her accidental career, the pros and cons of New Directions' size, the Moneyball aspect of publishing works in translation, surviving a Nobel crush, the importance of secondary rights, the language she most wishes she could read, the novel she promises never to write, the book whose success surprised her the most, where WG Sebald's work might have gone, and more! This is part of our Festival Neue Literatur series; Barbara is the 2017 recipient of the FNL's Friedrich Ulfers Prize! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_208_-_Barbara_Epler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15pm EDT

Garth Greenwell joins the show to talk about the poetics of cruising (and cruising's great leveling potential) in his life and in his debut novel What Belongs to You, the hyper-masculine culture and homophobia of Bulgaria, his concern that contemporary English-language writers don't read in other languages (or read in translation), his role chairing the 2017 Festival Neue Literatur, the dangers of LGBTQ mainstreaming, the fragility of cosmopolitanism, the state of queer fiction, and our mutual admiration of Samuel R. Delany! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_207_-_Garth_Greenwell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:09pm EDT

Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin rejoins the show (here's her 2014 episode) to talk about her new book, Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto (Melville House), while I gripe over the fact that it's the third book she's published since we recorded in 2014. We also get into learning to stop reading reviews, the aftereffects of carrying her belongings on her back for 18 months, the black magic revival and her experience as a tarot card reader, her detachment from NYC publishing culture, her fascination for Catholicism and female saints, falling in love with opera, never quite getting over the core guilt of her Protestant upbringing, and why she won't leave the US for good and won't write about expat Paris! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_206_-_Jessa_Crispin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm EDT