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In this month's episode, we meet four excellent novelists whose books tell stories about women in new and very imaginative ways.
Steven Camden, Elise Valmorbida, Caroline O’Donoghue, Molly Flatt, Lucy Scholes
NOBODY REAL by Steven Camden (Harper Collins)
THE MADONNA OF THE MOUNTAINS by Elise Valmorbida (Faber & Faber)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN by Caroline O’Donoghue (Virago)
THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE by Molly Flatt (Pan Macmillan)
THE MARS ROOM by Rachel Kushner (Jonathan Cape)
GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss (Granta)
NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
MRS GASKELL AND ME: Two Women, Two Love Stories, Two Centuries Apart by Nell Stevens (Picador)
Steven Camden’s thoughtful, pitch-perfect YA novel NOBODY REAL takes us into the complex inner world of an 18 year old girl whose childhood imaginary friend resurfaces as a sensitive stalker.
Elise Valmorbida’s beautiful historical novel THE MADONNA OF THE MOUNTAINS tells the powerful story of Maria, a peasant young woman whose life is controlled by outside rules and forces: religion, Mussolini’s fascist regime, the traditions of strict patriarchy. And yet she fights for the freedom to make her own choices. Along with delicious recipes for classic Italian dishes, this novel is an emotionally rich treat.
Caroline O’Donoghue’s very smart, timely and sharply funny debut PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN reads like a Victorian classic set in contemporary London. Depressed after being dumped by the love of her life, Jane, a young office worker, falls for her manipulative boss. As a secret online agony aunt, Jane has all the answers - but in her own life, she navigates her way through a labyrinth of mostly very bad options...
In her audacious debut THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE, Molly Flatt spins a rollercoaster adventure around a young woman whose sudden professional success seems to be a complete mystery. And the word ‘mystery’ doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of this author’s ambitious imagining of how human stories are created and connected.
Critic and essayist Lucy Scholes returns with her preview of three essential titles for autumn: the novels GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss and NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney, and MRS Gaskell AND ME, a memoir by Nell Stevens.
MY PICK for this month is THE MARS ROOM by Rachel Kushner (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018). Kushner’s precise, unsentimental storytelling draws us with supreme artistic control into the world of a young single mother who is serving a double life sentence for the murder of her stalker. In seamlessly interlinking raw scenes from her life outside and inside the California County jail, Kushner creates an unforgettable and very convincing portrait of America today. A revelation.
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00:17 Steven Camden
15:29 Elise Valmorbida
28:03 Caroline O’Donoghue
39:18 Decisions Decisions
42:40 Molly Flatt
56:30 Lucy Scholes (Book Post)
01:04:00 My Pick
01:07:15 Conclusion and Credits