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Writer and critic Margo Jefferson joins Kate Wolf to speak about her latest book, Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir. Delving into Jefferson’s familial legacy, her battles with depression, and the oppressive construct of the model minority, the formally inventive book is also a reflection of and on the culture. It touches on the lives and work of Ella Fitzgerald, Bud Powell, Ike Turner, and Willa Cather, especially as they manifest in the author’s conception of herself. In a kaleidoscopic voice, Jefferson enacts the constant toggling of the self, from the harshness of the superego to the curiosity, pain, and enthusiasm of the child, and, most of all, the ingenuity of the writer.
Also, Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Checkout 19, returns to recommend Celia Paul’s Letters to Gwen John.