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On this episode, we're excited to bring you Antoine Wilson in conversation with Sarah Manguso.

 

On this episode we are excited to bring you Antoine Wilson, author of the novels The Interloper and Panorama City, whose new novel Mouth to Mouth was named one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2022.

 

Antoine is joined by his longtime friend, Sarah Manguso, the author of the novel Very Cold People, released this year, and previously released nonfiction books including 300 Arguments and The Two Kinds of Decay, as well as poetry collections Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise

In this free-flowing discussion, Antoine and Sarah explore the transition from writing non-fiction to fiction, mull the motivation of likeability in their approach to their work and examine whether poets smoke more weed than fiction writers.

Read Along!

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ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022
Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada)

A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this “powerful, intoxicating, and shocking” (The New York Times) novel that’s a “slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith” (Oprah Daily). “You’ll struggle not to rip through in one sitting” (Vogue).


In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life—a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.

Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate—or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel’s staggering ending.

Sly, suspenseful, and “gloriously addicting” (BuzzFeed),?Mouth to Mouth?masterfully blurs the line between opportunity and exploitation, self-respect and self-delusion, fact and fiction—exposing the myriad ways we deceive each other, and ourselves.ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022


Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada)

A

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The masterly debut novel from “an exquisitely astute writer” (The Boston Globe), about growing up in—and out of—the suffocating constraints of small-town America.
 
“Compact and beautiful . . . This novel bordering on a novella punches above its weight.”—The New York Times

“Very Cold People reminded me of My Brilliant Friend.”—The New Yorker


For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known.

Once home to the country’s oldest and most illustrious families—the Cabots, the Lowells: the “first, best people”—by the tail end of the twentieth century, it is an unforgiving place awash with secrets.
 
Forged in this frigid landscape Ruthie has been dogged by feelings of inadequacy her whole life. Hers is no picturesque New England childhood but one of swap meets and factory seconds and powdered milk. Shame blankets her like the thick snow that regularly buries nearly everything in Waitsfield.
 
As she grows older, Ruthie slowly learns how the town’s prim facade conceals a deeper, darker history, and how silence often masks a legacy of harm—from the violence that runs down the family line to the horrors endured by her high school friends, each suffering a fate worse than the last. For Ruthie, Waitsfield is a place to be survived, and a girl like her would be lucky to get out alive.

In her eagerly anticipated debut novel, Sarah Manguso has written, with characteristic precision, a masterwork on growing up in—and out of—the suffocating constraints of a very old, and very cold, small town. At once an ungilded portrait of girlhood at the crossroads of history and social class as well as a vital confrontation with an all-American whiteness where the ice of emotional restraint meets the embers of smoldering rage, Very Cold People is a haunted jewel of a novel from one of our most virtuosic literary writers.

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