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Your Favorite Book: The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin

Your Favorite Book: The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin

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 Mina Seçkin, whose novel The Four Humors is a meandering and thoughtful exploration of family secrecy and cultural identity. Our main character, Sibel, is a college student visiting family in Turkey along with her white American boyfriend, and the pressures of adulthood and losing her father culminate in inexplicable headaches. Sibel becomes fascinated with the theory of the four bodily humors and ancient medicine, and slowly finds her way through not only this ancient field, but the covered-up ancient secrets of her own family. The book is compelling; equal parts coming of age and family saga, with the added texture of an at-times abrasive protagonist.

Seçkin calls Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things one of her all time favorite books, and together she and Malavika discuss the remarkable prose of this novel, its Faulkner-esque experiments with time, and the deep understanding of childhood trauma. There is also the matter of explaining one’s cultural background without overexplaining, defining an audience for your work, picking the ideal writing snacks, and so much more discussed in this episode. There are also many, many other book recommendations, in case your list needs growing.

See Also

Real Life by Brandon Taylor (with Naheed Phiroze Patel, Author of Mirror Made of Rain) Your Favorite Book

This was an intriguing one, fellas! My guest is Naheed Phiroze Patel, author of the new novel MIRROR MADE OF RAIN, and she and I chat in detail about former YFB podcast guest Brandon Taylor and his debut novel REAL LIFE. Yes, being a podcast guest is Brandon's only claim to fame, how'd you guess? In all seriousness, this book is a masterclass of carefully crafted scenes, excruciatingly awkward moments, and flat-out beautiful prose. I couldn't put it down. Naheed and I also chat about her book, including writing for an audience in different continents, the possibly ingrained sexism of Karva Chauth, the pros and cons of an MFA program, and so much more. Books discussed this episode: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk Buy Naheed's book: May Short Story Book Club: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast. Reviews always appreciated!
  1. Real Life by Brandon Taylor (with Naheed Phiroze Patel, Author of Mirror Made of Rain)
  2. Wise Children by Angela Carter (with Nghi Vo, Author of Siren Queen)
  3. Short Story Book Club: The Worst Friend Date I Ever Had by Samantha Irby (with Jasmine Vyas)
  4. Gregor the Overlander with Vaishnavi Patel (Author of Kaikeyi)
  5. Azadi with Madhushree Ghosh (Author of Khabaar)

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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