Wednesday, April 20 – Bridge by Robert Thomas

This week on Bibliocracy, 8 pm on KPFK, a rebroadcast (by popular demand!) of my show with the author of a small, perfect novel who made it big last year.  It was through the happy connection of advocacy politics and literary boosterism that I was introduced to the poet and, now, fiction writer Robert Thomas of Oakland, California.  As a judge of the annual fiction awards for PEN Center USA, the terrific human rights outfit, my fellow readers and I considered some of the year’s best work published west of the Mississippi, in other words a lot of last year’s novels, many of them well-known and terrific bestsellers and otherwise critically acclaimed.  We settled, almost unavoidably, on an impossibly attractive underdog of an improbable and beautiful novel by the prizewinning Mr. Thomas, whose two previous volumes are Dragging the Lake and Door to Door.  His day job is as a legal secretary in San Francisco, just the kind of Clark Kent cover for a Superwriter whose novel from BOA Editions is titled Bridge, and has made this reader so very happy.  The story is an intimate elaboration on the impossible possibilities and consequences of paying attention to life and love as shared by a very funny and painfully self-conscious potentially suicidal narrator named Alice, a young, smart, literate woman who works in a San Francisco law firm and wonders if her coworker David might love her back as a kind of test of the meaning of existence.  I hope my enthusiastic sneak synopsis is enough to provoke you into buying, reading this novel.  Or that my conversation with Robert Thomas does the trick.  Thanks for listening on the old-fashioned radio or online live, or later as a free download from the KPFK audio archives.