Tag Archives: Chloe Benjamin

Three Very Different Books + One New EP

        

About a week or so ago, late night talk show host, Jimmy Fallon introduced The Tonight Show’s first ever book club and included The Immortalists, the brilliant new novel by Chloe Benjamin. Perhaps, because Fallon has come under critical scrutiny after his gentle-cozy interview with Trump, the least cerebral of late-night comedians is not usually associated with anything other than chummy-chats with show-biz guests promoting whatever they are obligated to flog to the masses. So it came as no surprise when a few of Life Elsewhere’s attentive listeners decided to voice their opinions. Our interview with Chloe Benjamin had been well-received but our listeners were mystified as to how such a smart book managed to be on Jimmy’s book list! Had they missed the plot? Laney wrote to say that she wondered, “Is The Immortalists that lightweight?” And Meredith asked, “The book sounded serious and intense, did I miss the part about it being funny?” These questions prompted us to revisit Norman B’s interview with Chloe Benjamin. Yes, it is an intense book and it’s a note-worthy interview. Hear it again in this edition of Life Elsewhere, then perhaps we can all reevaluate the intellectual standing of Fallon, or at least give a big thumbs up to his producers.
Katja Pantzar discovered the simple, nature-inspired ways that Finns stay happy, healthy and strong – no matter what life has in store. This included swimming every day, even in winter when the water is 1 degree Celsius (34 Fahrenheit and feels as if hundreds of pins and needles are pricking your body. Katja joins the program to discuss her new helpful book, The Finnish Way.
The Great Believers is one of the first books to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present. Rebecca Makkai has written a powerful novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy. She weaves together 1980’s Chicago and contemporary Paris to tell a story of survivors who were forever affected by the AIDS crisis. Rebecca’s achingly beautiful novel touches on governmental indifference, survivor’s guilt, and a broken healthcare system. This is an emotive interview, you won’t want to miss.

Every so often, we like to squeeze in a new music discovery, Slippery Eyes are from Portland, Oregon. Their excellent EP is titled Take Care, Be Well and the track we selected is Slippery Eyes. The band is Cai on vocals and guitar. Cassie plays bass, Christian is on drums and Jesse is also on guitar. Check out more new music at Life Elsewhere Music.

 

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The Underlying Theme: Relationships

                                

Would you like to know when you are going to die? Think about that for a moment, it’s a question that’s a lot harder to answer than you may realize. Chloe Benjamin understands the complexity of the question and builds a story of remarkable ambition and depth around it in her new novel, The Immortalists. It’s1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. Norman B’s engaging interview with Chloe explores the smart crafting of The Immortalists, the line between destiny and choice, and her observations on relationships.

When Eli first meets Sam Westergard, he is dazzled by his new friend’s charisma, energy, and determined passion. Both graduate students in New York City, the two young men bond over their idealism, their love of poetry, and their commitment to socialism, both in theory and in practice—this last taking the form of an organized protest against Soline, a giant energy company that has speculated away the jobs and savings of thousands. As an Occupy-like group begins to coalesce around him, Eli realizes that some of his fellow intellectuals are more deeply—and dangerously—devoted to the cause than others. This is the backdrop for The Radicals, the new novel by Ryan McIlvain. Ostensibly, this is an alert, timely thriller, but McIlvain explores relationships and emotions with a deft use of dialogue and beautifully arranged prose. Norman B’s thoughtful interview with Ryan ventures in many directions but always returning to the powerful core of his book, relationships.

Life Elsewhere is available at NPR One & iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radion
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On-Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Make a Donation Button

Show #260