Episode 29: Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman
Like A Hundred Thousand Worlds and The Wangs vs. The World, this novel takes the quintessential American road trip trope and turns it on its head. Maya and Alex, with their adopted eight-year-old, Max, set forth from New Jersey to Montana on a quest to find Max's biological parents. Maya, whose love for Max is encumbered by a fear that she will never understand him, is hoping that what they find at the end of their journey will give her an answer key. Alex is along on the journey unwillingly, because Maya wants to go. And Max doesn't know why they are in the car, or what might be at the end of the road. As ever, it turns out that the journey matters more than the destination. This is a novel about the ways we are constrained by what we inherit and the ways we can transcend that, about what it means to be from a place and what it means to be of that place, about the infiniteness of mother love and also its limits. Mostly, though, this is a novel about the road we all must travel to understand who we are.
Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Boris Fishman about belonging, community, and notions of home; about fiction as a way to explore alternate lives ("or the lives at which we have not yet arrived"); and about the American obsession with truth and transparency.