Kazuo Ishiguro returns to dystopian ground with a provocative look at a disturbing near future.
On this episode, Kazuo Ishiguro discusses Klara and the Sun (Knopf, March 2), “a haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible” (starred review).
Ishiguro’s first novel since winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature features a nonhuman narrator. Klara is an uncommonly perceptive solar-powered robot—an “AF,” or “Artificial Friend”—destined to become the companion of a privileged teen in a highly stratified near-future world. “She’s uncommonly intelligent,” Kirkus writes, “and even as she goes unsold in the store where she’s on display, she takes in the details of every human visitor. When a teenager named Josie picks her out, to the dismay of her mother, whose stern gaze ‘never softened or wavered,’ Klara has the opportunity to learn a new grammar of portentous meaning.”
Ishigruo and host Megan Labrise discuss how much plot to divulge to future readers, Klara’s special relationship with the sun, 2016 as a challenging year for liberal democracies, writing from the perspective of a character who processes visual information differently from humans, Cubism, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band, and much more.
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Latinitas by Juliet Menéndez (Godwin Books/Henry Holt)
Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo (Make Me a World)
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 ed. by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (One World/Random House)
The Blizzard Party by Jack Livings (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (Algonquin)
Julia Alvarez on Fully Booked
“The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” by Christopher Myers (New York Times)
“Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” by Walter Dean Myers (New York Times)
Thanks to our advertisers this week:
A Mistake Incomplete by Lorenzo Petruzziello
Rum for the Pineapple Cup by Stephanie Siciarz
Away with the Fishes by Stephanie Siciarz
Left at the Mango Tree by Stephanie Siciarz
Carpenter’s Bluff by James Sanders
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.