Episode 50: Improvement by Joan Silber
Improvement is the story of Kiki, who went to Istanbul when she was in her twenties, married a Turkish carpet dealer, stayed for a while, came home. It is also the story of Reyna, Kiki’s niece, a single mom whose boyfriend gets involved in a cigarette smuggling scheme with his friend Claude, and the story of Claude’s girlfriend, Darisse, a single mom and health aide who wants life to be better. It’s the story of the trucker, Teddy, whose truck Claude crashes into, and the story of a German, Dieter, who encountered Kiki once but whose life went on without her. It’s the story of Monika, the daughter of Dieter’s boyfriend, who does provenance research for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, trying to return stolen things, to fix what has been broken. It’s the story of how these stories intersect to tell a story bigger than each of their own, about how the world is larger and deeper than any of us realize, and what it means to seek improvement.
Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Joan Silber about writing against the "narcissism of the novel," about being "against narrowness," and the dangers of being too careful ("then you lie in other ways").