Episode 48: Hollow by Owen Egerton

Episode 48: Hollow by Owen Egerton

Three years after the inexplicable crib death of his toddler son, Oliver Bonds -- once husband, professor, do-gooder -- is divorced, unemployed, living in a shed. Everything he thinks he knew about how the earth operates has been smashed. Consumed by grief, beset by the challenge of how to go on when he can no longer pretend to himself that life is fair and bad things only happen to other people, Oliver is drawn to the fringe idea that the earth is hollow, with an undiscovered civilization at its center. "The concept of the Hollow Earth was something better than factual: it was applicable," Oliver tells us; "I myself was a hollow shell with nothing but a question at my core.”

Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Owen Egerton about the difference between the novel and film ("a movie knows exactly what it wants you to feel when you step out of the theater; a book you can walk away from in a bunch of different ways"); about why he fell in love with writing ("here was a place where my questions could live"); and about how writing Hollow changed him ("it expanded the mystery"). And he quotes Tim O'Brien (without being prompted!).

Guest readers Annie Thoms and Jessica Sager join Oppenheimer to discuss loss and grief, passivity and action, the choice to live, and the search for meaning.

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Episode 49: Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott

Episode 49: Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott

Episode 47: The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Episode 47: The Burning Girl by Claire Messud