A man assesses the aftermath of a valorous deed in Antoine Wilson’s mysterious new novel.
On this week’s episode, Antoine Wilson discusses Mouth to Mouth (Avid Reader Press, Jan. 11), a unique, artfully composed novel from the author of Panorama City and The Interloper. Kirkus calls this propulsive, spoiler-susceptible story “a deliciously nasty morality play in the guise of a thriller.”
Here’s just a bit more from our review: “At John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, having just arrived from Los Angeles and waiting for a connection to Berlin, the unnamed narrator of Wilson’s third novel recognizes a former classmate from UCLA standing at the ticket counter. The classmate, a man called Jeff Cook, invites the narrator to the first-class lounge to wait for their delayed connection. Over drinks, Jeff decides to tell the narrator a strange tale, beginning just after the two graduated from college years earlier. One morning, overlooking a beach in Santa Monica, Jeff catches sight of a drowning figure and rushes in to save the older male swimmer, giving him the titular rescue maneuver until the swimmer sputters back to life. Afterward, Jeff is haunted by the incident: Did the man live? Would he recognize Jeff if they met again?”
Wilson and host Megan Labrise discuss how much of the plot to get into without spoiling the surprises in store; how Wilson feels about the book being called “Highsmithian”; whether the work reflects the influence of Umberto Eco; the concept of the “intellectual mystery”; the appeal of writing about the art world; the narrator as a cipher; Wilson’s thoughts on why novels are more popular than short story collections; whether it’s fair to call it Mouth to Mouth a thriller; and much more.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Summer Edward, and Laurie Muchnick offer their top picks in books for the week.
The Think-Ups! by Claire Alexander (Candlewick)
Crushing by Sophie Burrows (Algonquin Young Readers)
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
Also mentioned on this episode:
Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs (Knopf)
Missed Connections by Sophie Blackall (Workman)
The author Margaret Mahy
Thanks to our advertisers:
Among the Beautiful Beasts by Lori McMullen
A Kite for Melia by Samuel Narh
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.