Tag Archives: Nathaniel Popkin

Another Conversation With Nathaniel Popkin

After Nathaniel Popkin first appeared on Life Elsewhere in 2018 to talk about his novel, Everything Is Borrowed we didn’t hesitate to invite the Philadelphia-based author back. Then, in response to the American political crisis, the movement, Writers Resist proved a renewed interest amongst writers in political discourse and prompted Stephanie Feldman and Popkin to co-edit, Who Will Speak For America? The eloquent and intellectually curios Nathaniel Popkin returned to our show to discuss the anthology. Now Nathaniel is back to talk about his latest work of fiction – set against the backdrop of 1976 Philadelphia, The Year Of The Return follows the path of two families, the Jewish Silks and African American Johnsons, as they are first united by marriage and then by grief, turmoil, and the difficult task of trying to live in an America failing to live up to its ideals. Both hyper-real and feverishly imagined, and told in the unfiltered voices of the characters themselves, Popkin summons the electric dimensions of racial conflict, sexual liberty, and economic collapse during America’s post-Vietnam urban meltdown. Paul Silk and Charlene Johnson are journalists whose love for each other and commitment to social justice were formed in the peace movements of the 1960s. But the idealism of that era leads to the urban deterioration of the 1970s. Mayor Frank Rizzo’s Philadelphia is a place of crime, white flight, and class resentment that is inhospitable to their interracial marriage, forcing them to move away. But when Charlene dies of cancer, Paul returns. Unmoored and unable to let go of Charlene, he wades back into the lives of the two families, with the hope of helping Charlene’s younger brother Monte, once a prodigy and now a troubled veteran of the Vietnam War. Their explosive reunion leads to the baring of personal revelations and dangerous secrets. This is a vivid story of families trying to reconnect with and support each other through trauma and loss, and a meditation on the possibility of moving on to a better future. We are delighted to welcome Nathaniel Popkin back to Life Elsewhere.

Plus new music from Felicia Douglass and Eric Gundel out Brooklyn who perform under the moniker, Gemma. You’ll hear Love Trade from Feeling’s Not A Tempo, their latest album, which we highly recommend. Montreal-based, multi-talented singer-songwriter, Sarah Krier gives us Wrap from her new long-player, Avoidable Injuries. Digital Vagabond hail from Denver, Colorado, Patrick Boyle is the composer, producer, and knob-twiddler on The Tyndall Effect, featuring Carly Lynn Meador aka Spirah on vocals. 

And, Norman B voices an opinion on guns, he first aired on a talk radio show in the early ’80s.

Show #336

Portrait by Peter Woodall

A New Age Of Protest

The words above are from the opening lines from a piece describing the reaction to and the aftermath of the 2016 election. The writer recounts her experience in the days after on her way to a protest when a man bellows, “Guess who won?” as he grabs for her crotch. She recounts the incident to her father, who voted for Trump. “Nothing like that happening here.” Her father says, adding, “We’re all happy. You’re overreacting. We spent eight years your way, and look where it got us”. This is one of the exceptional contributions to a new and important book, Who Will Speak For America? Inspired by and drawing from the work of writers who participated in nationwide Writers Resist events in January 2017, the book provides a collection of poems, stories, essays, and cartoons that wrestle with the meaning of America and American identity. Contributions reflect on the first days after the 2016 Presidential election, but range well beyond it to integrate the past and imagine possible American futures. Co-author of Who Will Speak For America?, Philadelphia-based writer and critic, Nathaniel Popkin returns to Life Elsewhere to talk in depth about this timely publication, one that will inspire readers by emphasizing the power of patience, organizing, resilience and community.

The Podcast is available at NPR One & iTunes

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A Compelling Story Explained + A Vulnerable & Insightful Voice

In Everything is Borrowed, acclaimed architect Nicholas Moscowitz lands a major commission, but his drive suddenly falters. The site of the new project awakens guilty memories, and when he digs into the place’s history, he uncovers a 19th-century Moskowitz whose life offers strange parallels to his own. As Nicholas grows obsessed with this shadow man, the dual narratives of Moskowitz and Moscowitz, the city’s past and present, blend in unexpected and poignant ways. Ultimately Nicholas must face certain truths that don’t change over time—and use them to rebuild his own life. Nathaniel Popkin, the author of Everything is Borrowed is our guest on the next edition of Life Elsewhere. He answers Norman B’s questions with the same intensity he brings to his latest novel. Popkin wants you to hear his passion. He doesn’t falter, revealing so much of himself, explaining his compelling meditation on cruelty and regret, and taking the reader (listener) on a mesmerizing tour of a city through time, all the while evoking a portrait of radical Jewish life of another age.

Plus, you’ll hear new music from Rosie Peppin, a talented young singer-songwriter, from the south of England. Of her EP, simply titled, EP, Rosie says, almost apologetically, “This is a collection of demo tracks I completed whilst at university.” With demos of this quality, Rosie Peppin is well on her way to well-deserved success. In the two songs, we showcase, When This Comes and Thunder, Rosie displays a beguiling ability to sound in equal parts vulnerable and insightful. Her voice is haunting, almost frail, yet intensely confident. Sheer delight!

Life Elsewhere is available at NPR One, iTunes & Mixcloud

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

Another way to listen to past 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 #272