07-27-13 UPDATE:Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 110: Andrew Sean Greer, 'The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells'
Click image for audio link.
Here's the one hundred and tenth` episode of my series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. Hitting the two-year mark, I'm going to make an effort to stay ahead, so that podcast listeners can get the same sort of "sneak preview" effect that radio listeners get each Friday morning.
Brendan Koerner arrives looking like he belongs here at KQED in San Francisco. He works with Wired, and he's going to an event there later. He's just emerged from one gig here with Michael Krasny's Forum, but ready to talk again about 'The Skies Belong to Us.'
When we sit down, I have to remind myself not to call the book a novel, but the reading experience is so similar as to make this a bit difficult. The captivating character arc of this book is particularly rich, but there is a lot talk about on the just-the-facts side of the equation.
For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this novel was Koerner's vision of hijacking as an epidemic. He charts the spread pretty much exactly as if it were a contagion, and I was curious about what he thought played the biggest part in this spreading the contagion. It was a question that goes a bit outside of the purview of the book itself.
'The Skies Belong to Us' is intensely readable; so much so that I think it is easy to miss the amount of careful juggling that goes on here. There's a lot of timeline intercutting between the main story of the Holder-Kerkow hijacking and the other hijackings of the period. I'm always curious as to how writers accomplish this, as the answers vary greatly. Koerner told me that when his first book 'Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight from the Greatest Manhunt of World War II' was optioned by Spike Lee, he spent a lot of time working with the director to keep the story focused and visual. Eventually, he created a montage of images that summarized the main story line.
When he began to write 'The Skies Belong to Us,' Koerner decided to storyboard his book in the same manner. He created an electronic photo album for his iPad, which he showed me after the interview. While it is not all online, the book's website does have some of these images. They're well worth examining, as they offer a real feel for the period that is echoed in Koerner's story.
08-21-15: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Senator Claire McCaskill is 'Plenty Ladylike' : Internalizing Determination to Overcome Sexism [Incudes Time to Read EP 211: Claire McCaskill, Plenty Ladylike, plus A 2015 Interview with Senator Claire McCaskill]
Agony Column Podcast News Report : Emily Schultz Unleashes 'The Blondes' : A Cure by Color [Incudes Time to Read EP 210: Emily Schultz, The Blondes, plus A 2015 Interview with Emily Schultz]