In the wake of Denis Johnson's passing, Chris and Sarah discuss Jesus' Son, the author's bleak yet beautiful collection of stories centered around the desperation of addiction. We also delve into why short stories are frequently so melancholy, and Chris briefly makes an embarrassingly mistaken reference to the Velvet Underground. Join us!
Ruth Rendell is known as a crime novelist, but in A Sight for Sore Eyes she stretches the genre's trappings into a taut and thrilling class-infused generational novel. Join Chris and Sarah as they get sucked into Rendell's bleak but utterly captivating world.
With Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale soon to reach a larger audience than ever thanks to a television adaptation, we decided to take on the novel for the Idle Book Club—Chris for the first time, and Sarah for the second. It's a masterful imagining of a modern dystopia, and it remains just as relevant as ever.
Shusako's Endo is a classic of modern Japanese literature, a reflection on faith and humanity that is sweeping and ambitious as well as intensely personal. Inspired to read it after watching Martin Scorsese's recent film adaptation, Sarah and Chris do their best to reckon with this complex novel.
If you've never read Wuthering Heights, it probably isn't what you expected. And if you haven't read it since high school, it's worth revisiting this unusual novel of obsession and revenge. Rereader Sarah and first-time reader Chris hash out their reactions to Emily Bronte's classic!
This month, Sarah and Chris discuss Viet Thanh Nguyen's ambitious and bleakly comic debut novel, The Sympathizer. The story of a Vietnamese communist sympathizer among his fellow refugees in the United States, the book is a scorching examination of inside and outside perspectives on the Vietnam War and its reverberations. Next month: Runaway by Alice Munro!