Last month, British novelist Max Porter visited us from across the pond and was joined by Marlon James. Minneapolis-based Marlon read from his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, which is the most recent winner of the Man Booker Prize. Then Max read from his novel Grief is the Thing With Feathers, one of our staff’s favorite books of 2016.
In the Q&A portion, Max talks about crows on YouTube, his wife’s reaction to the novel, and the importance of both high and low culture, with input from Marlon. Listen through the audio file below, or get the episode from iTunes – search “Magers and Quinn Presents” in the podcast store.
About Grief is the Thing With Feathers: A grieving husband and father is adrift in the wake of his wife’s sudden, accidental death. He and his two sons struggle to face the unbearable sadness that has engulfed them. The father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness, while the boys wander, savage and unsupervised. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow–antagonist, trickster, goad, protector, therapist, and babysitter. This self-described “sentimental bird,” at once wild and tender, who “finds humans dull except in grief,” threatens to stay with the family until they no longer need him.
Part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter’s extraordinary debut combines compassion and bravura style to dazzling effect. Full of angular wit and profound truths, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is a startlingly original and haunting debut by a significant new talent.
Recorded at Magers and Quinn Booksellers on June 23, 2016.