Extraordinary Tragedies with Novelist Joe Meno
In this episode, we welcome award-winning author, Joe Meno, and we explore the question: Is it ever truly possible to separate our fates from those we’ve come to love?
Joe Meno's novel, "Book of Extraordinary Tragedies," tells the stories of first-generation Eastern European siblings living in a far southside Chicago neighborhood.
Now in their twenties both Aleks and Isobel are unfulfilled music prodigies, and their younger brother Daniel becomes obsessed with tragedies. Their father is absent. Their mother is odd. Alex is facing moderate hearing loss. And, their family history seems to be cursed.
Are the siblings doomed by fate to repeat their family's failures? Or will Isobel's return to playing cello open up a new world of possibilities?
"Begin in F # minor, with a symphony of ghost notes. Why not a concerto that details every known silence? Or the most noiseless overture in all of history? Let the trumpets go mute and the cymbals be still."
Joe Meno is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. Winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a finalist for the Story Prize, Meno is the best-selling author of several novels and short story collections, "Marvel And A Wonder" (also featured on Arts & Letters), "The Great Perhaps," "The Boy Detective Fails," and "Hairstyles of the Damned."
He is a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College, Chicago.
Thank you to the following extraordinary composers, musicians and singers for sharing their music with the episode: "Leave It Alone" by Jason Kaminski, "Imaginary Composition" by Sonnenzimmer, "Evergreen Park" by Elia Einhorn, and "Catastrophe Will Never Let You Down" by Adam Gwon, with a performance by Margo Seibert. A special thank you to Joseph Fuller for the song "Beginnings, Endings and Other Musical Figures" and the extraordinary symphonic compositions and sound effects.
Thank you to actors Joseph Fuller for voicing Daniel, and Logan Wells, Rowan Wells, Faith Wells, Gavin Harper, and Cooper Poole for voicing the middle school tennis players.
Generous funding for Arts & Letters Radio was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thank you to Stickyz Rock'n'Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.
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Executive Producer and Host: J. Bradley Minnick
Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit
Sound Mix and Mastering: Joseph Fuller, Orchestra of One
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