EPISODE 37: HOT FOR TEACHER, LIVE!

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    Our first live episode, recorded in front of an amazing audience on August 22nd at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove in Los Angeles, California.

    We’re joined by guest author Ivy Pochoda, who just that day was wrapping up the book tour for her latest novel, Visitation Street.

    For the Disco trio to read, Ivy selected the novel Tampa by Alissa Nutting, the first book to make Tod’s jokes and innuendos seem tame by comparison.

    But first, we each do a Bookshelf Revisit, two of which harken back to the “origin stories” we told in our very first episode. Then Tod brings the Poet Voice to the masses. We let the audience vote on which of his dramatically intoned selections is actually a poem.

    It’s long, it’s unruly, and thanks to many technical issues, it doesn’t sound all that great…but it’s Literary Disco live!


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COMMENTS

2 Responses to Episode 37: Hot for Teacher, LIVE!

  • Wynn wrote on September 8, 2013 at 10:32 //

    Hello Literary Disco,

    This question is specifically for Rider, but is also open to Julia, Tod, or anyone else who would like to comment.

    Rider, on this episode you noted that the narrator of Tampa, Celeste, was “too reliable.” And since the comparison of Lolita came up a lot through the show, I’d like to make another juxtaposition here if I can. If I recall correctly, isn’t Humbert Humbert an incredibly unreliable narrator? If we were to compare these character’s dispositions, or compare Lolita to Tampa again, why is Celeste’s over-reliable voice not seen as “fleshed out,” while Humbert Humbert’s unreliable narration is seen as fleshed out or to use Rider’s favorite word, nuanced? I don’t have an answer to this question, just liked to know what anyone thinks. Feel free to correct me, if I’ve misinterpreted anything.

    Best,
    Wynn

  • Tod wrote on September 10, 2013 at 7:09 //

    That’s a good question, Wynn. My answer may be different than Rider’s or Julia’s, but there’s a point in the show where Julia and I talked about her being or not being an unreliable narrator and I believe I called her “super reliable” or something to that effect, as though that’s a bad thing. And in fiction, I think it can be because it removes a lot of mystery from the character — if she knows that what she’s doing is wrong, that she should and could go to prison etc. etc. etc., it removes an emotional complication of not knowing the truth about yourself, but it also creates a palpable lack of empathy. Humbert is a more empathetic character because we believe he is deceiving himself. It is, as Wayne Booth wrote, the art of communicating with readers. Unreliable narrators distort truth, which is compelling and can make a character seems nuanced in the way humans are nuanced generally. A super reliable character doesn’t seem to have the emotional nuance because they reveal everything, which can feel expositional instead of dramatic. I’m speaking generally here, not specifically about Tampa, but it’s related to some of the issues I think we each had with the book. If I’d thought of it at the time, a really apt comparison here would have been The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford, since the narrator is unreliable but presents himself as super reliable — it’s a classic, nuanced portrayal of self deception. He’s conniving, much the way Celeste is, and in the end his result is a similar kind of happiness built on something dreadful. But because we never understand the narrator’s emotional core, he becomes somewhat as monstrous as Celeste…and it may be the case he has no emotional core and is just a sociopath, which Celeste may be, too. The thing about sociopaths is that it’s hard to connect to them for pretty obvious reasons and that lack of connection can then make the reader feel less connected to the story itself.