This site will look much better and function properly in a browser that supports web standards.

bookbuffet: the one-stop web resource for book groups
Cover Image of Through a Window by Jane Goodall published by Houghton Mifflin Co
Cover Image of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston published by HarperCollins
Cover Image of The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan published by Ballantine Books
bookbuffet features

Author Podcasts: Jennifer Egan and Siddhartha Mukherjee

abstract:We are taking a week off from BB author interviews and insert instead in this column an interview with two fabulous writers who both made it onto the NYRB top 10 for 2010 list. Meet Jennifer Egan and Siddhartha Mukherjee in conversation with Sam Tanenhaus, editor for the New York Review of Books. (31:34 min)

As an interviewer it is great to listen to dialogue between authors and other reviewers. Good interviews result from asking the right questions in the right order and having an acute understanding of the book and even the body of work of the person you are interviewing. Drawing analogies to other works or other artists, setting the piece in perspective and teasing the strengths or the controversies, the illuminations or the craft of the design is what distinguishes a great interview. It helps to be talking to powerhouses. I think you will find in the authors here, a compassion for their characters that informs and infuses their writing. We "get" 70s punk rock musicians (in Jennifer's case) and patients confronting the most ominous diagnosis - the C word (in Sid's case) because of this intimacy.

Jennifer Egan is an essayist and short story writer from Brooklyn whose work has been said to be unclassifiable, though others call it a postmodern experiment that comes off brilliantly. Here she talks about her book A Visit from the Goon Squad (Knopf, 2010) a series of short stories that feature different characters and settings, indeed different styles entirely, in each with the consistent theme of rock musicians and their worlds in the 70s. It all deftly fits together into a cohesive narrative. Egan says, "There are a lot of writers who find a groove and spend a career mining that vein. I seem to be exactly the opposite. Each book is its own exploration and obsession, with a certain set of ideas and concerns. And once I have finished it, I feel that they will never be alive for me in the same again. And I can really say that for every one of my books."


January 26, 2011
Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Siddhartha Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.

Susan Okieis, a physician and a former staff writer for The Washington Post writes, "Most of the book's action takes place during the past 100 years, as Mukherjee traces the recent stunning transformations in our scientific and societal image of cancer - from a death sentence, to a mysterious foe to be bludgeoned with radical surgery and chemotherapy, to a rallying cry for activists in a politically fueled war, and ultimately to an array of separate, endlessly resourceful diseases, distortions of normal human biology that must be understood at the cellular level before they can be vanquished. 'It lives desperately, inventively, fiercely, territorially, cannily, and defensively - at times, as if teaching us how to survive,' Mukherjee writes."

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it.—Simon&Schuster In this interview Mukharjee says that he wanted to know the identity of the first person exhibiting a certain form of cancer. Characters are brought forward, some identified and others whose identity is protected along with any defining characteristics not germane to the story. This was how he maintained patient confidentiality while capturing the nuances of their disease, their personal battle, triumphs and in some cases dignified defeat. Germane was a woman in the latter instance who had an unusual form of gastric cancer that she managed, through self-determinism and self-education to eek out 6 extra years of life. As Sid says, "Her life played "like a morbid chess game."



Social Bookmarks
home |  about |  buy books |  contact |  help |  legal |  media & press releases |  privacy |  reviewers & authors |  sitemap | 
tell a friend
© 2019 BookBuffet LLC
using bookbuffet
about book groups
online discussions
links & resources
find a book store
book archives & research