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Book Club - Emily Spurr’s Beatrix & Fred

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Manage episode 377952068 series 2381791
Content provided by 2SER 107.3FM. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by 2SER 107.3FM or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

Emily Spurr is the author of A Million Things. You have met her on Final Draft and on Book Club before. I’m a fan and that’s why I wanted to bring you in her gorgeous and surprising new novel Beatrix & Fred.

Beatrix is aggressive alone. If Hell is Other People then Beatrix is happy to sit on the committee for tormenting her coworkers. She wasn’t always like this but lately it just seems like life is going out of its way to annoy her.

Beatrix’s solitude is getting out of hand but adopting a stalker was not on her bingo card of ways to break out of her shell.

Who is the mysterious elderly woman who seems to be appearing wherever Beatrix goes? Is she a figment of Beatrix’s imagination or a malevolent force in a sensible knit cardigan?

Even as I offer up this brief introduction to Beatrix & Fred, I’m practically bursting with all the things left unsaid about this novel. For those of you that read Emily Spurr’s A Million Things, you’ll recall the absolutely jaw-dropping twist at the end… Well Beatrix & Fred leaves that in the dust for surprises.

For the first hundred or so pages I was convinced I was reading some sort of psychological horror, so creepy was the build up.

Told through entwined narratives; primarily led by Beatrix’s dark perspective on the world, but interspersed with short and sharp interjections from a strange observer. The novel works at least initially to keep you off-kilter, waiting for its moment.

This is by design and Spurr wants us to travel alongside Beatrix as she both questions her sanity and seeks out answers, anything that might help her to understand the strange turn her life has taken.

Emily and I spoke for Final Draft (and that conversation will be up on the podcast next week) and she told me about the experience of trying to find answers in a medical system that is too-often not designed to support or even listen to women. Beatrix’s experiences may prove to be absolutely novel but she can’t even guarantee that the mundane will not be dismissed as some random act of female biology.

As Beatrix searches for answers she finds herself coming under closer scrutiny and feeling like her whole world is imploding.

I’m going to stop myself here, because what comes next in the novel is truly original and I would never take that surprise away from you. As luck would have it, when Beatrix & Fred landed in the world the news sought to show us exactly how strangely original it was with some timely weird science news.

It is the heart in Beatrix & Fred though that sets this novel apart.

If I circle back to where we began and talk about Beatrix’s feelings of social isolation at the beginning of the novel, I’m reminded of how too often we only ever brush against each other’s lives. To her coworkers Beatrix may look like a nightmare but in Emily Spurr’s telling she is someone who cares but is also suffering. Through the darkness and strange emergences of the narrative we come to see how that loneliness is isolating but it doesn’t have to be a terminal condition.

All that’s left to say is go out and read Beatrix & Fred and then come back to me so we can talk about it together in all its strange glory!

  continue reading

400 episodes

Artwork
iconShare
 
Manage episode 377952068 series 2381791
Content provided by 2SER 107.3FM. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by 2SER 107.3FM or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

Emily Spurr is the author of A Million Things. You have met her on Final Draft and on Book Club before. I’m a fan and that’s why I wanted to bring you in her gorgeous and surprising new novel Beatrix & Fred.

Beatrix is aggressive alone. If Hell is Other People then Beatrix is happy to sit on the committee for tormenting her coworkers. She wasn’t always like this but lately it just seems like life is going out of its way to annoy her.

Beatrix’s solitude is getting out of hand but adopting a stalker was not on her bingo card of ways to break out of her shell.

Who is the mysterious elderly woman who seems to be appearing wherever Beatrix goes? Is she a figment of Beatrix’s imagination or a malevolent force in a sensible knit cardigan?

Even as I offer up this brief introduction to Beatrix & Fred, I’m practically bursting with all the things left unsaid about this novel. For those of you that read Emily Spurr’s A Million Things, you’ll recall the absolutely jaw-dropping twist at the end… Well Beatrix & Fred leaves that in the dust for surprises.

For the first hundred or so pages I was convinced I was reading some sort of psychological horror, so creepy was the build up.

Told through entwined narratives; primarily led by Beatrix’s dark perspective on the world, but interspersed with short and sharp interjections from a strange observer. The novel works at least initially to keep you off-kilter, waiting for its moment.

This is by design and Spurr wants us to travel alongside Beatrix as she both questions her sanity and seeks out answers, anything that might help her to understand the strange turn her life has taken.

Emily and I spoke for Final Draft (and that conversation will be up on the podcast next week) and she told me about the experience of trying to find answers in a medical system that is too-often not designed to support or even listen to women. Beatrix’s experiences may prove to be absolutely novel but she can’t even guarantee that the mundane will not be dismissed as some random act of female biology.

As Beatrix searches for answers she finds herself coming under closer scrutiny and feeling like her whole world is imploding.

I’m going to stop myself here, because what comes next in the novel is truly original and I would never take that surprise away from you. As luck would have it, when Beatrix & Fred landed in the world the news sought to show us exactly how strangely original it was with some timely weird science news.

It is the heart in Beatrix & Fred though that sets this novel apart.

If I circle back to where we began and talk about Beatrix’s feelings of social isolation at the beginning of the novel, I’m reminded of how too often we only ever brush against each other’s lives. To her coworkers Beatrix may look like a nightmare but in Emily Spurr’s telling she is someone who cares but is also suffering. Through the darkness and strange emergences of the narrative we come to see how that loneliness is isolating but it doesn’t have to be a terminal condition.

All that’s left to say is go out and read Beatrix & Fred and then come back to me so we can talk about it together in all its strange glory!

  continue reading

400 episodes

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