I highly recommend this book, and I highly recommend you read it right now. It is just a slender novel, but this book is packed with so much and the majority of it made me feel deeply uncomfortable. Edie is a 23-year-old Black woman living in roach-infested apartment in Bushwick and working at a publishing company when she meets Eric, a digital archivist who is white and more than double her age. They begin seeing each other, as he is in an open marriage, but it is not long before the stories of Edie, Eric, his wife Rebecca, and his adopted daughter, Akila are all wrapped up together tightly. My head was spinning from being depressed by Edie’s story to being completely enthralled by her story. Along the way, the reader is affronted by the way systems of race, class, and gender disadvantage some and prop others up. Leilani’s writing style might not be for everyone, but I found it fresh and intimate. — Julie Travers
Steve Marantz is an author, journalist, and podcaster. His expansive career started in the newsroom of the Kansas City Star. He then moved on to the Boston Globe where he first covered sports, and then general assignment news and politics. He spent time at Sporting News Magazine and the Boston Herald before moving to ESPN.com and E:60, the sports newsmagazine broadcast by ESPN. He has written four books, including The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the ’68 Racial Divide and Citizen Akoy: Basketball and the Making of a South Sudanese American. He has recently started his own podcast, Championship Stories.
Clem Schoenebeck has published both a book of poetry, Where the Time Went: Poems at Eighty and a memoir, Dancing with Fireflies: One Man’s Escape From Insanity. On today’s episode, Julie and Clem discuss the way that poetry and writing can be a form of therapy and how to get started with an artistic endeavor at any point in your life.