Claire-Louise Bennett’s “Checkout 19”

March 4, 2022

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Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by Claire-Louise Bennett, whose new novel is Checkout 19. It follows an unnamed young woman born into a working-class family, who is slowly discovering her own sense of self through the many books she reads and the stories she writes. Her relationship to her own experiences is partly filtered through the words of other writers, as she eventually attends college, finds work as a checkout clerk, in a grocery store, and dates a few inadequate, jealous men with literary ambitions of their own. The book seamlessly moves between literary analysis, fantastical storytelling, and life itself, eventually confronting the realities of sex, violence, and death.

Also, Isaac Butler, author of The Method, returns to recommend Amanda Vaill’s Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins.