Subjects Discussed: Opening a novel with a protagonist immersed within the Yiddish Theater, coloring a story with tragedy vs. getting to know a character, the 57 blocks of the Lower East Side, the immigrant experience, the famous name of Burstein, the theme of power, bringing in ethnic supportive characters, compressing many events into a small book, getting a sideways visceral glimpse, not getting to see or know everything in a book, whether some narratives are “fair,” Alaska and Bloom’s mental landscape, the quest and narrative, the follies of existential journeys, Bloom’s abandoned mystery novel in a drawer, plotting, the artistic mediums that Bloom has not tried, and abandoning the vocation of psychotherapy.
EXCERPT FROM SHOW:
Correspondent: Would someone like Lillian have been as likely to run into people like Gumdrop and Chinky and look for someone similar to her own self if such a person actually existed? Or because it was this removal that…?
Bloom: Yes, if we had stayed in the Lower East Side, it would have been a different story. It would have been, you know, Call It Sleep. It would have been something else. It would have been Herman Wouk’s City Boy, which is actually a wonderful book. But it wouldn’t have been this book. This book is much more, as my younger daughter said when she finished it, “Oh my! It’s like Ulysses with women and Jews.” And I thought, I’m all right with that.
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