Jennifer Egan

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“I am a curious person. My methodology is geared toward accessing the stuff I can’t consciously think of. I have all kinds of ways of doing that—I write fiction by hand, I try to write without stopping, I don’t read over what I’m writing. It’s all about putting aside the analytical part of my brain and getting at something deeper. I’m a big believer in the fact that we all know much more than we realize we know.

-Jennifer Egan, episode 275 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan (“A Visit from the Goon Squad”) joins us this week. She describes the structural pulse of her new novel (4:00), why she’s drawn to nonlinear storytelling (6:33), and what “The Candy House” reveals about authenticity (7:40) in the digital age (14:26). Then, we revisit a formative trip to Europe (21:21) that inspired her to write (26:30) and move to New York, where she worked as a secretary to a countess (32:16) and rediscovered her creative voice (34:12).

On the back-half, Jennifer reflects on her late brother Graham (36:57), his courageous battle with schizophrenia (38:30), and his lasting presence in her work (40:13). We also discuss the role of luck (50:02), the value of pushing past boundaries (52:00), and how she continued to write in the face of loss (55:57). To close, she reads a healing passage from “Manhattan Beach” (57:22).

Show-notes:

Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi.

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