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Episode 268: Emma Straub

BY MEGAN LABRISE • May 17, 2022

Emma Straub’s winning time-travel novel will make you pine for the ’90s.

On this week’s episode, Emma Straub discusses This Time Tomorrow (Riverhead Books, May 17), a delightful, poignant new novel from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Vacationers and Modern Lovers, and co-owner of the Brooklyn bookstore Books Are Magic.

In This Time Tomorrow, New Yorker Alice Stern wakes up after her 40th birthday celebration to discover it’s the day of her 16th birthday celebration—in 1996—again. What this means, among other things, is her beloved father Leonard, the author of famous time-travel novel, is young, robust, beaming, and joking. Back in 2020, Alice visits Leonard every day in the hospital, because he’s in a coma.

Here’s a bit from Kirkus’ starred review of This Time Tomorrow: “Straub’s novel has echoes of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town: Every prosaic detail of [Alice]’s earlier life is almost unbearably poignant to Alice, and the chance to spend time with her father is priceless. As she moves through her day, she tries to figure out how to get back to her life as a 40-year-old and whether there’s anything she can do in the past to improve her future—and save her father’s life. As always, Straub creates characters who feel fully alive, exploring the subtleties of their thoughts, feelings, and relationships. It’s hard to say more without giving away the delightful surprises of the book’s second half, but be assured that Straub’s time-travel shenanigans are up there with Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and the TV show Russian Doll.”

Straubtells host Megan Labrise why she calls This Time Tomorrow her “autobiographical time-travel novel” and shares some of the similarities between her life and main character Alice Stern’s. They discuss Alice’s relationship with her famous father, Leonard; the idea of perfecting or correcting your life through time travel; how Straub’s mother helped shape her as a reader and writer; whether writing fiction can be a means of exploring the road not taken; comedy as tragedy plus time; and much more.

Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.

 

Editorspicks:

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Simon & Schuster)

The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Leo Espinosa (Nancy Paulsen Books)

The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest To Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, From Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life by A.J. Jacobs (Crown)

Bad Actors by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)

 

Also mentioned on this episode:

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (St. Martin’s Griffin)

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael López (Nancy Paulsen Books)

The Year We Learned To Fly by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael López (Nancy Paulsen Books)

At Risk by Stella Rimington (Knopf)

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

The Power of Breath: The Gift of Self-Actualization Through Meditation by Monica Garcia Duggal

The Ferryman’s Toll by Daniel James

 

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

 

 

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