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California Book Club: Julie Otsuka
"The Swimmers" author Julie Otsuka sits down for a conversation with CBC host John Freeman.

Otsuka’s third novel is a book of voices. A chorus, yes, but also a collective, beginning with a first-person-plural accounting of the swimmers at a community pool. It’s a vivid way to start a narrative, reminding us of not just our shared spaces but also our shared destinies. And yet, if the novel has anything to tell us, it’s that these destinies also belong to us alone. To explore these ramifications, Otsuka moves from plural to singular, from first to third person, and, ultimately, to direct address. The result is a novel that is deftly, subtly inclusive while also aware of the travails and obligations of living, which eventually come due for all of us.

Joining her will be special guest Michael Cunningham is the author of many books, the best known of which is the novel “The Hours,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1999, and was made into an Oscar-winning movie.

Sep 16, 2022 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Julie Otsuka
Author, “The Swimmers”
Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her first novel, “When the Emperor Was Divine,” won an Asian American Literary Award and an American Library Association Alex Award. Her second novel, “The Buddha in the Attic,” was a finalist for a National Book Award and won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction.
Michael Cunningham
Special guest
Michael Cunningham is the author of many books, the best known of which is the novel “The Hours,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1999, and was made into an Oscar-winning movie.
John Freeman
Host
John Freeman was the editor of “Granta” until 2013. His books include “How to Read a Novelist,” “Tales of Two Cities,” and “Tales of Two Americas.” “Maps,” his debut collection of poems, was released 2017. He is an executive editor at Knopf and teaches at the New School and New York University. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and has been translated into 20 languages.