Russell Banks returns to the show to talk about his latest novel, Foregone. He shares how his childhood upbringing and young adulthood have fed his fiction, and why this novel feels more autobiographical than most. He also talks about a wild week spent with Jack Kerouac in the 1960s, and experiencing the fall of a literary hero. He discusses how this novel couldn't have been written at any other point in his life, why his characters differ from his readers (and the importance of that difference), a tennis showdown with Chang-rae Lee, and so much more.
There's a lot of advice for writers, including how to surprise your readers, why focusing on contradictions in your characters is more important than consistency, the necessity of learning how to read, and his insights into point of view.
(Record date: February 25, 2021)