Welcome to another installment of a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, seeks to talk to readers and writers about the books that light a fire inside them. What’s your favorite book and why?
This week’s guest is Nicola DeRobertis-Theye, author of The Vietri Project. This novel combines millennial disillusionment, historical and present-day Rome, the resurfacing of childhood trauma, and a healthy dose of intrigue. Gabriele, a 25 year old woman struggling with purpose after graduating from college, travels to Rome in search of Vietri, a former client of hers at the bookstore where she worked. Gabriele knows nothing of Vietri other than his taste in dense academic books, and her quest brings her not only knowledge of Italy’s sordid colonial past, but also brings her face to face with family she left behind, as well as her own sense of self. This is an introspective novel with a strong sense of setting and nuanced characterization. If you’ve been yearning to travel, this might be the book for you.
Nicola reflects on an all-time favorite book, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. This dense, ambitious project, somewhat overshadowed by Atwood’s speculative fiction, is a blending of genre and narrative style in its own right. Comprised of newspaper clippings, character recollections, and a novel within a novel, readers piece together the disintegration of a family and the legacy its members have left behind. DeRobertis-Theye shares her story of reading The Blind Assassin as a teen, finding new insight in the book as an adult, the other writers that have influenced her prose style, and so much more.
All episodes of Your Favorite Book are spoiler-free, and we invite fans of Margaret Atwood and new readers alike to listen and engage in this discussion.
Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link below, and stay tuned for more episodes with other writers in the weeks to come. If you enjoy this episode, check out other episodes of Your Favorite Book on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other major podcast platforms.
Sula by Toni Morrison (with Saeed Jones, Author of Alive at the End of the World) – Your Favorite Book
- Sula by Toni Morrison (with Saeed Jones, Author of Alive at the End of the World)
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (with Joe Meno, Author of Book of Extraordinary Tragedies)
- Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger (with Adam Levin, Author of Mount Chicago)
- The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi (with Belinda Huijuan Tang, Author of A Map for the Missing)
- A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House)
Malavika Praseed is a writer, book reviewer, and genetic counselor. Her fiction has been published in Plain China, Cuckoo Quarterly, Re:Visions, and others. Her podcast, YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and various other platforms