Episode 95 — Maria Semple


Maria Semple is today’s guest.  For years she worked in television, writing for shows like Mad About You and Arrested Development.  Then, in 2008, she published her debut novel, This One is Mine.  Her follow-up effort, a novel called Where’d You Go, Bernadette, has just been published by Little, Brown.  [Official pub date:  08/14/12]  It was the July selection for the TNB Book Club.

Jonathan Franzen raves

The characters in Where’d You Go, Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure.

And Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, says

Semple pieces together a modern-day comic caper full of heart and ingenuity….a compelling composite of a woman’s life-and the way she’s viewed by the many people who share it. As expected from a writer who has written episodes of Arrested Development, the nuances of mundane interactions are brilliantly captured, and the overarching mystery deepens with each page, until the thoroughly satisfying dénouement.

Topics of conversation include:  Antarctica, seasickness, Drake Passage, National Geographic, Ernest Shackleton, icebreakers, Neil Armstrong, the moon, research, rare human experiences, South Pole, oxygen, Werner Herzog, Palmer Station, McMurdo, Seattle, isolation, intensity, caffeine, self-pity, not liking everyone, Los Angeles, television, weather, Arrested Development, Batman, satire, social anxiety, the annoying stuff of life, anger, epistolary fiction, Microsoft, ballet, TED Conference, 1980s, 90210, comedy, Saturday Night Live, Mad About You, Arrested Development, Ellen, joke writing, work ethic, pain, necessity, identity, and not forcing it.

Monologue topics:  averted crisis, TNB Book Club, iTunes, ratings, reviews, groveling.