In our On Air series, we offer excerpts from fiction, essays, poetry and nonfiction in the writer’s own voice.
Last weekend at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, we sat down with John Biguenet, who read from his most recent book, Silence, a volume in Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series of concise examinations that delve into “the hidden lives of ordinary things.” Other books in the series include Remote Control, Golf Ball, Driver’s License, Bread and Bookshelf.
Silence features convincing and provoking arguments about the expected and surprising aspects of its subject. Some of our favorite chapters include discussions about the uncanny silence of dolls and the silencing of women.
You can listen to John Biguenet read the first chapter of Silence below.
We also recently had the opportunity to interview John Biguenet about Silence and his other new book, The Rising Water Trilogy (Louisiana State University Press), for the Los Angeles Review of Books, which you can read here. The Rising Water Trilogy contains his plays set during and in the aftermath of the flooding of New Orleans caused by the 2005 failure of the federal levee system.
Poet, novelist, essayist, professor and playwright, Biguenet is that rare literary figure who moves with ease and grace among genres and topics. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Esquire, Playboy, Granta, The New Republic, Tin House and North American Review. It also has been included in The Best American Mystery Stories, Best Music Writing and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A two-term president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the author of the story collection The Torturer’s Apprentice and the novel Oyster.