Talking About Mother Tongues

Wendy Lesser, Amy Tan, Bharati Mukherjee, Josef Skvorecky, and Nguyen Qui Duc are interviewed on NPR about The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongues. Near the beginning of the piece, Lesser raves about Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook. She says, “I loved it and I rarely run across a first novel that I love. I mean, if you were in the literary review business you would feel the same way. There are just tons and tons of over-hyped and not very good novels out there and then there was this gem.”

But that’s just an aside. The interview focuses mostly on the authors’ bilingualism and reveals interesting tidbits such as the fact that Josef Skvorecky started to learn English at the age of 14 so that he could write a letter to July Garland.

Also: Philip Marchand writes about The Genius of Language for the Toronto Star.


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