Book Club: Timothy Egan, César Aira and Veronica Roth
By Jeremy Brieske
Apr 23, 2014
Colorado authors Lisa Jones, Peter Heller and Helen Thorpe are close friends who’ve been gathering regularly for years in each others' living rooms to discuss the books they’re reading.
Our Book Club segment transports their lively conversations to the CPR studio. Whether the three friends share each others' views or disagree, Book Club gives you a front-row seat as they share their literary passions.
This month, Jones reviews "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis" by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Timothy Egan.
The book is a biography of Edward Curtis who, at the dawn of the 20th century, set out on a three decades-long journey to photograph more than eighty vanishing North American tribes.
“He’s had a lot of really edgy experiences where you go a little too far with a medicine man. He turned paparazzi a few times. He’s not perfect but he’s an amazing guy,” Jones says.
Timothy Egan is a columnist for the New York Times and his book “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” won a National Book Award for nonfiction in 2006.
Heller chose to discuss “The Hare” by Argentinian author César Aira.
“The guy is miraculous,” Heller says. “I love this guy. I read a few of his other very short novels…and they’re just so weird.”
“The Hare” follows the story of Clark, a 19th-century English naturalist, who roams the grasslands of Argentina in search of an elusive and rare animal, the Legibrerian hare, whose defining quality seems to be its ability to fly.
“The whole thing is just crazy,” Heller says. “At the same time…in the hands of this master, every scene is like being inside a Swiss watch. Every scene, you feel like it’s a little gear, and you know, somewhere, it’s moving a bigger gear that is going to get you to the end of this story.”
Finally, Thorpe discusses "Divergent" by Veronica Roth, the first in a Young Adult (YA) fiction trilogy that also includes “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.”
This books features main character Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world. It’s a society divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue — Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent).
“Veronica Roth was only, I think, 24 when she published the first book,” Thorpe says. “She’s at the top of her game. This is as good as it gets.”
To hear our authors discussing these books, tune into the arts show this Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Book Club when we’ll hear from our authors about the classics that made the most impact on them when they were growing up -- Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse,” Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time” and “The Once and Future King” by T. H. White.
Lisa Jones is the author of a memoir called “Broken: A Love Story” and she is currently at work on a novel. Peter Heller is the author of five books. His novel "The Dog Stars" was a bestseller. His new novel, "The Painter," is coming out in March. Helen Thorpe is the author of “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America,” as well as a forthcoming non-fiction book “Soldier Girls.”
Stories like this are made possible with the support from listeners and readers like you. Ninety-five percent of CPR's operating budget is derived locally right here in Colorado. Support impartial journalism, music exploration and discovery with your monthly gift today.