Episode 81 — Kate Christensen


Kate Christensen is today’s guest (photo credit:  Marion Ettlinger).  She’s the author of six novels, the fourth of which, The Great Man, won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award.  Her latest novel, The Astral, is now available in trade paperback from Anchor Books.

The San Francisco Chronicle raves:

[Christensen’s] characters’ ruminations on how the forces of love and deception work in tandem within a relationship are both searing and concise. . . . [She] is a forceful writer whose talent is all over the page. Her prose is visceral and poetic, like being bludgeoned with an exquisitely painted sledgehammer. She is a portrait artist, drawing in miniature, capturing the light within.

And The Miami Herald calls it

Spectacular. . . . The Astral, artfully composed and emotionally tender, is evidence of true literary genius.

Topics of conversation include:  Portland Maine, food, Brooklyn, Green Point, moving, small towns, big cities, socializing, shut-ins, social media, Twitter, Facebook, advertisements for self, hypocrisy, parties, social anxiety, shyness, Iowa Writers Workshop, fearing other writers, gender, sexism, confidence, self-doubt, Frank Conroy, greatness, competition, floundering, teaching, bad jobs, Countess of Romanones, Nancy Reagan, Republican society women, painting, solitude, detachment from self, creativity, pain, nihilism, word counts, discipline, procrastination, sitting, health, dark chocolate, wine, dying like a squid, health trends, the death of love, grief, divorce, evolution, Tuscany, goth, Germany, past loves, Berkeley, Arizona, Black Panthers, nerdiness, split personality, social exhaustion, artistic genes, memoir, and food writing.

Monologue topics:  American kindness, Ray Dolin, hitchhiking, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, publishing, desperation, self-sabotage, hoaxes, scandal.