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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Nicola DeRobertis-Theye

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Nicola DeRobertis-Theye

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.

See Also

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.

The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride) Your Favorite Book

We've talked about memoir on this show, but never have we interviewed a memoirist herself. Sumaiya Matin is a social worker and psychotherapist, as well as the author of debut memoir THE SHAYTAN BRIDE. In her book, Sumaiya details not only her childhood as a Bangladeshi immigrant in Canada, but also the traumatic events of her early adulthood. These conflicts bring to rise questions of faith, culture, gender, and the intersections therein. Sumaiya discusses the role of her Islamic faith and distinguishing between cultural norms and religious values, which gives way to the works of Turkish writer Elif Shafak. We discuss at length Shafak's first novel, THE FORTY RULES OF LOVE. This split narrative features the spiritual relationship between renowed poet Rumi and wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz, paralleling it with a modern-day love story and spiritual awakening of Ella Rubenstein, a Boston-area housewife.  Books discussed: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, Believing Women in Islam by Asma Barlas, Inside the Gender Jihad by Amina Wadud, Kimya Khatun by Saideh Ghods Find Sumaiya's memoir at her website: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  1. The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride)
  2. The Palace of Illusions with Annika Sharma (Author of Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words)
  3. Thornyhold with Pitu
  4. Always Coming Home with Shruti Swamy (Author of The Archer)
  5. The Enchanted with Ari Honarvar (Author of A Girl Called Rumi)
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