TMR 10.1: “Brave Publishing” [Ducks, Newburyport]
The tenth season of the Two Month Review gets underway with special guest Dan Wells of Biblioasis talking about how they came to publish Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, and the risks involved in doing a 1,020-page book. They also introduce Ellmann–who has one of the greatest bios ever–and the novel itself. Conversation topics include: kidneys vs. cinnamon rolls, “torrent of consciousness” writing, catching your breath in a one-sentence novel, how much Chad loves moms, the role of memory in the text, the mountain lion sections, how funny and angry the book is all at once, and much more. If you haven’t started the book, don’t worry! This is a great introduction and the concept of “spoilers” doesn’t really apply to a novel like this one.
If you’d prefer to watch the conversation, you can find it on YouTube along with all our past episodes. Next week’s episode (up to page 150) will be broadcast live here. And you can discuss this book at the reactivated Goodreads Two Month Review Discussion Group.
This week’s music is “Lucy” by Soccer Mommy, partly because it’s a solid single, partly because it’s called “Lucy,” and partly because of this quote from Ducks, Newburyport:
the fact that we pretend to be interested in soccer, for the kids’ sake, but it’s a real strain, sprain, the fact that all the other soccer moms and dads get so excited, while I just stand there getting cold, frozen, frozen out by the other moms as well, the fact that they always ask where Leo is, as if neither of us has anything better to do than watch little kids kick a ball around, the fact that the other moms and dads yell and cheer till they’re hoarse, the fact that it isn’t right, I don’t think, to make kids so competitive about things, the fact that we think the other parents are too involved, but they probably think we aren’t involved enough,
And be sure to preorder Brian’s book, Joytime Killbox, which is coming out this fall from BOA Editions.