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 episode marks the Season 2 finale, and our guest is Brandon Taylor, Booker prize nominee and the author of the new story collection Filthy Animals.Taylor weaves together stories of caregiving, grief, and discomfort, presenting us with humanity in all its messiness. From dancers in a fraught relationship to babysitting gone wrong, this collection leans in close to the tenuous nature of human connection. A mix of interlocking stories and standalones, the collection is shocking, heartbreaking, and deeply thoughtful.
For this episode, Brandon chose Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion. He discusses discovering the works of Jane Austen while in a darkened lab studying C. elegans, and enumerates all the ways Persuasion is her magnum opus. The novel follows Anne Elliot, single and nearly geriatric at twenty-seven, coming to terms with her family’s faltering finances. Enter Captain Wentworth, wealthy and dashing, and Elliot’s former fiance (jilted years ago due to his lack of money and connections, at the suggestion of Anne’s loved ones). What follows is classic Austen in humor and wit, with a surprising gravitas and maturity.
Brandon discusses Persuasion at length, including the relatability of its plot, masterful dialogue, and its statements on love and companionship. We also chat about the process of crafting a short story collection (are you a singles artist or an album artist?), learning to appreciate ballet from an unlikely source, navigating awkwardness in life and in art, and so much more.
Your LEAST Favorite Books – Your Favorite Book
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. Reviews on Apple Podcasts are also very much appreciated.
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