Shirley Falls, Maine is one of those New England towns with a strong memory of the way things used to be…before the mills closed, before the mall went up across the river…before so many residents moved away. It’s the fictional town left behind by a pair of brothers in The Burgess Boys, a new novel by Elizabeth Strout, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge. The story centers on Jim and Bob Burgess, brothers whose lives are imprinted by a childhood tragedy in very different ways. Both pull up their stakes and secret miseries and move to New York City….and both are pulled back to their hometown by another family crisis. Elizabeth talks to Virginia about the book and it's connection to Maine.
Alex Kudera published Fight for Your Long Day, in 2010, but it’s still gaining traction because of its unflinching look at the swelling academic underclass that is adjunct faculty, recently getting notice from the chronicle of higher education. We spoke with him about the book and the perception of adjuncts in higher education today.
All of the pleasure, none of the guilt. Our Saturday show gets you caught up, in a convenient snack pack size. This week….A video game attempts to replicate the experience of autism; spying in space with the help of spectroscopy; a look back to when Peyton Place was in its heyday, almost 60 years ago; the delicious and sweet tradition of capturing maple syrup; making music by “playing” a tower; and a musician gives a private concert in Studio D, then talks about teenage inspiration and her love of pie.
Nearly sixty years after “Peyton Place” was published, tourists still stop in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, to ask locals about its author, Grace Metalious. The novel shocked America with tales of small town secrets, sex, and hypocrisy, and outraged the citizens of Gilmanton, where the unconventional Matalious lived with her family. It became one of the best-selling books ever, a hit movie, and TV's first prime-time soap. Writer George Kelly, came across some persistent Matalious myths while writing about the novel for New Hampshire Magazine. His article, “50 Shades of Grace: The Impact of ‘Peyton Place’ on New Hampshire Sixty Years Later”, can be found in the current issue of the magazine, as well as online.
Between 1978 and 1988, the murders of seven women in New Hampshire and Vermont were attributed to the “Connecticut River Valley Killer”. Investigations of several suspects, and one deathbed confession went cold, and the killer was never found. Novelist Joseph Olshan’s “Cloudland,” is a fictionalized crime thriller based on the case. We spoke to Joe Olshan last spring when the book was released, now, it’s out in paperback. He lived in the upper valley when the sixth and final victim was found, and he explained what, as an outsider, he saw happen to local residents.
In 1994, fifteen year-old classmates Josh and Khadijah catch his father and her mother having an affair. That discovery and the ensuing fallout leads to the pair forming an unlikely bond and making a vow that they’ll never, ever, cheat on anyone. This poignant and at times absurd coming-of-age story is just the starting point of “Good Kids,” a novel that’s getting a lot of buzz for its author, Benjamin Nugent, and has critics comparing his first foray into fiction with the likes of Jennifer Egan and Jonathan Franzen.
Roger King is the author of four novels, and has worked extensively on development projects in Africa and Asia. He’s suffered from chronic fatigue since 1991 and joins us to talk about his new autobiographical novel Love and Fatigue in America.