Episode 420 — Max Porter


Max Porter is the guest. His debut novel, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, is the official June pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club. Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize, it is available now from Graywolf Press. (Photo credit: Lucy Dickens)


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Max and I spoke by telephone. He was at home in London. It was nighttime for him. I was here in Los Angeles, mid-morning. His publication story is a good one. He wrote a book that isn’t easily classifiable. Usually such books have a hard road to publication. But Grief found a way, and thank goodness. It’s short, poetic, and wonderfully surprising novel. There’s a talking bird in it. It takes chances. Packs a punch. The fact that it has gone on to do so well is a testament to Max’s vision and skill. Wise, witty, and very deeply felt. A real gift to the reader.

In today’s monologue, I talk about compression in literature, compression of schedule, the podcast’s logistical crossroads, Kickstarter, and my need to podcast in a cloistered environment.