Edward Carey’s ‘The Swallowed Man’ contemplates the lonely fate of Pinocchio’s progenitor.
On this week’s episode, Edward Carey discusses The Swallowed Man (Riverhead, Jan. 26), an author-illustrated retelling of the Pinocchio myth, dictated by the puppet’s woodcarver father, Geppetto. This novel, written for adults, is “a deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist” (Kirkus). Carey (Little, the Iremonger series, etc.) was inspired to the telling by his time as writer-in-residence at the Meyer Children’s Hospital in Florence, Italy, where Pinocchio author Carlo Collodi spent his life (1826-1890).
Carey and host Megan Labrise discuss his time as writer-in-residence at Meyer Children’s Hospital, which led to an invitation from the Collodi Foundation to create an exhibition at the Parco di Pinocchio; how the novel grew from those experiences; the narrative constraints of a story set in a sea-beast’s belly, told by a man with a dwindling supply of candles; Carey’s pandemic-generated drawing-a-day series on Twitter, and much more.
Then editors Vicky Smith, Eric Liebetrau, and Johanna Zwirner join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Floyd Cooper (Carolrhoda)
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Milkweed)
The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen, trans. by Michael Favala Goldman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy by James S. Hirsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Flower Power: The Magic of Nature's Healers by Christine Paxmann, illus. by Olaf Hajek, trans. by Jane Michael (Prestel)
Drawn From Nature by Helen Aphornsiri (Big Picture/Candlewick)
Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind by Peter Godfrey-Smith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.