It's funny how themes emerge when guests get paired together.
Most often, the date I schedule a guest appearance is based on their book pub date and so we get these funny coincidences when I sit down to write the show notes. Both Catherine Isaac and Tom Rachman have written books that have a troubled father-son relationship at the center, and both of them write novels that allowed them to explore topics that were very deep and personal.
For Catherine Isaac, who had written for years in the UK as Jane Costello, the shift in topic and tone that lead to You, Me, Everything was significant enough that she had to change the name she wrote under in order to make the switch. Her book, one that deals with deeper and more challenging themes than her previous series, was one she felt she needed to write, even if she had to set aside an author brand she'd been building for years. In our chat, we talk about the desire to go further in her writing as well as the politics of pseudonyms. SO much to learn from this one!
I've adored Tom Rachman ever since The Imperfectionists, so it was a special treat to get to talk to him about his latest novel, The Italian Teacher. His challenge in writing it was the desire to cover a character's full life from beginning to end. We discuss the powerful father-son relationship that lives at the center of the book, his own existential concerns about becoming a parent and how writing this book helped him open up to being a father, and finally what good fiction strives to convey about what being human is really about.
We do really deep in this episode, which is something I enjoy so much. I hope you have a great time listening. As always, share your thoughts with me on twitter @carodonahue or on our FB page. I love hearing from you!