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September 10, 2022 36 min

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2010 and 2020, respectively.

Jennifer Egan’s latest novel, “The Candy House,” is a follow-up to her Pulitzer-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” which came out in 2010. That year she appeared on the podcast and told the host Sam Tanenhaus how she had gone about organizing the book’s centrifugal structure: “What I was really interested in was trying to move through time and work with the difference between private and public. We see people and they seem to be easily categorizable — sometimes they seem like types. And I loved then taking that person that we had seen peripherally and showing us that person’s inner life in a really immediate way,” she says. “It happened very organically. … I just followed the trail of my own curiosity.”

Also this week, we revisit the actor and writer Stephen Fry’s 2020 conversation with the host Pamela Paul, in which he discussed topics including Oscar Wilde, Fry’s own love of language and his book “Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined.” “It’s a miraculous thing about Greek mythology that there is a timeline and a chronology,” Fry says. “It’s probably reverse-engineered by Hesiod and Homer and the later poets, obviously. But nonetheless, it has a shape, a beginning and an end, which other mythic structures don’t seem to have. And they’re so deep in the — I hesitate to use such a cliché, but I can’t avoid it — in the DNA of our own culture and art that it’s part of who we are.”

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