Episode 400 — Alexander Chee

   

Alexander Chee is the guest. His new novel, The Queen of the Night, is available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is the official February pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

Years ago Alex was out in LA and we had a drink and he told me he was working on this novel. It’s amazing to see it all come to fruition, to see him on Late Night with Seth Meyers, to see the book reviewed all over the place, to see everybody chattering about it online. Just happy for him. It was a long road from start to finish, but he got there, and we talk about that. We also talk about his late, beloved father, and what an incredible polymath he was, and what it was like to be a mixed race kid growing up in Portland, Maine. We talk about the Iowa Writers Workshop and AIDS activism and what it was like to be in the green room getting ready to appear before a national television audience. And of course we talk opera and historical fiction and The Queen of the Night.

In today’s monologue I talk about 400 episodes and what, if anything, that means. I also give an update on the health of my son.