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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Jesse McCarthy

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Jesse McCarthy

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 Jesse McCarthy, professor at Harvard University and author of The Fugitivities. In this debut novel we follow Jonah Winters, a recent college grad and current teacher in New York City. Already disillusioned with teaching and unsure what to do next, he travels to Brazil after a chance encounter with a former NBA player. With nothing but his lived reality as a young Black man and the people he meets along the way, Jonah seeks to find what is missing in his life and in his sense of self.

For this episode, Jesse chose a novel he has long loved and enjoys teaching, Ralph Ellison’s 1952 masterpiece Invisible Man. In this picaresque, an unnamed narrator tells the story of his life in episodes, beginning with a harrowing graduation day, through his college years, and onto the streets of Harlem.This book shows us the many intersections of race and class and rings true even today.

Jesse discusses Invisible Man on a textual basis as well as how it hearkens back to African American history as well as the present. We discuss reader curiosity in the author’s life, writing across fiction and nonfiction, the role of the novel in an answer-seeking society, how Invisible Man may be the progenitor for the modern social thriller, and so much more. This episode has some mild spoilers, which are indicated at appropriate times during the episode.

See Also

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson with Keenan Norris (Author of Chi Boy) Your Favorite Book

For this, our last formal interview episode for Your Favorite Book, I'm delving back into nonfiction and into some serious topics. THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS deserves all its accolades, not only for its extensive research on the Great Migration in Jim Crow era America, but on the attention to narrative detail and approachable, readable tone. My guest, Keenan Norris, touches on specific migrations and how the city of Chicago impacted several important Black historical figures, including Barack Obama and Richard Wright. Together, the two of us touch on the surprising results of research, what it means to learn something that should've been taught in schools, and so much more. Find Keenan at his website: https://www.keenannorris.com/ Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  1. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson with Keenan Norris (Author of Chi Boy)
  2. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy with Deeba Zargarpur (Author of House of Yesterday)
  3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (with Ethan Chatagnier, author of Singer Distance)
  4. The House of Mirth with Sara Bennett Wealer (Author of Grave Things Like Love)
  5. Sula by Toni Morrison (with Saeed Jones, Author of Alive at the End of the World)

Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link above, 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.

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