In Alice Elliott Dark’s second novel, “Fellowship Point,” Agnes Lee and Polly Wister have been friends for about 80 years. Their intertwined families own homes on a Maine peninsula, and some of the book’s drama stems from their efforts to preserve the land and keep it out of the hands of developers.
“The issue of land, land ownership, land conservation has always been of deep interest to me,” Dark says on this week’s podcast. “I came to that pretty quickly as I was developing this story. I decided I wanted to write something like a 19th-century-style novel, and I wanted to have it be modern. Women didn’t own land in the 19th century. They didn’t make decisions about land, even if they did own it, and having women landowners dealing with these issues seemed to me a modern version of a big, older, 19th-century-type novel.”
Katherine Chen visits the podcast to discuss her new novel, “Joan,” which imagines Joan of Arc as a born fighter who becomes an avenging warrior.
“I think the central image that keeps us fascinated with Joan of Arc all these years later is the mental image of a woman in armor on horseback going to war,” Chen says. “I think that image keeps us enthralled to this day because it’s as startling and surprising as it is empowering.” We also remain captivated, Chen says, by the “sheer improbability” of Joan’s story.
Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news about librarians caught in the culture war over banned books; and Elisabeth Egan and MJ Franklin talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“Everything I Need I Get From You” by Kaitlyn Tiffany
“Thank You For Listening” by Julia Whelan
“A Word Child” by Iris Murdoch
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