Exclusive - Sarah Vowell Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  07/18/13
  •  | Views: 37,037

In this exclusive, unedited interview, author Sarah Vowell discusses the first and final novel of the late David Rakoff. (6:22)

>> WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TOBLT SHE IS A BEST

SELLING AUTHOR AND FRIEND OF

THIS SHOW, TONIGHT SHE IS

HERE TO PROMOTE HER FRIEND

AND OURS DAVID RAKE OFFER

NEW-- RAKOFF ENTILE ETED

LOVE, DISHONOR, MARY, DIE,

CHERISH, PER SHALL.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

SHOW THE WONDERFUL SARAH

VOWELL.

(APPLAUSE)

SARAH.

>> LOOK AT THESE SWEATY

PEOPLE.

>> YES.

>> THANK YOU FOR BRAVING THE

HEAT AND NOW WE'RE GOING TO

REWARD YOU BY TALKING ABOUT

A DEAD MAN'S RHYMING COUP

LET NOVEL.

>> YES.

SO LET'S GIVE YOU THE

BACKGROUND FOR THIS WE'RE

GOING TO DO THIS WITHOUT

BEING SAD ABOUT IT.

DAVID RAKOFF WAS, YOU KNOW,

MANY OF YOU MAY KNOW WAS A

GREAT FRIEND OF THE SHOW,

GREAT FRIEND OF EVERYONE HE

MET.

HE'S WRITTEN, THIS IS A

FIRST NOVEL.

AND IT'S RHYMING COUP LET.

YOU HAVE WRITTEN BOOKS.

AND NONE OF THEM RHYMED.

>> NONE.

>> I'VE READ ALMOST ALL OF

YOUR BOOKS, THERE IS HARDLY

ANY RHYMES IN IT.

>> AND THEY'RE POORER FOR

IT.

>> EXACTLY.

NOW WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CLIP

OF DAVID RAKOFF SO LET'S

PLAY DAVID NOW.

>> SO WE'RE TALKING AND

TALKING AND FINALLY I SAY,

AND THE TALKING IS ALL ABOUT

SEXUAL PRACTICE AND WHAT GAY

PEOPLE DO.

AND I FINALLY SAY OKAY, YOU

KNOW, HIV IS TRANSMISSABLE

BY GOOD OLD-FASHIONED RED

BLOODED HETERO NORM ANY

MARRIED SEX.

AND HE SAYS INTO MY

TELEPHONE, KNOWING THAT IT

IS BEING RECORDED, YEAH, BUT

NOT AS MUCH.

I MEAN THE VA BEGIN-- VA

GYNEA CAN TAKE A LOT OF

PIN-- THE VAGINA CAN TAKE A

LOT OF PUNISHMENT.

>> SO-- I REALLY MISS THAT

GUY, JON STEWART.

(LAUGHTER)

>> OH, COME ON.

>> THAT MAY BE MY FAVORITE

AND THE BALANCESIEST I MISS

JON JOKE SO FAR IN THIS RUN.

>> THANK YOU.

>> CONGRATULATIONS.

>> YES.

>> YES.

(APPLAUSE)

>> SO THIS IS A FANTASTIC

NOVEL, RHYMING NOVEL.

>> YES.

>> IT IS FUNNY.

IT IS TRAGIC.

IT IS UPLIFTING.

>> IT HAS AT EPIC SWEEP,

GETS LIKE A HUNDRED YEARS OF

AMERICAN HISTORY.

>> YEAH.

>> AND STARTS IN THE STOCK

YARDS IN CHICAGO.

HE GOES THROUGH THE

DEPRESSION IN NEW YORK IN

THE '50s, YOU KNOW, SAN

FRANCISCO IN THE WEE, GAY

WHEE FREEWHEELING '70s.

WELL, YOU --

>> THAT IS NOT HOW THEY

SOUND.

>> THAT IS LIKE GAY PEOPLE

ON ROLLER COASTERS.

I'M ENJOYING THIS AS EXACTLY

AS MUCH AS THE SAME PERSON.

>> I'M JUST SAYING THAT THAT

PART OF THE BOOK IS FUN

FILLED.

>> IT SURE IS.

UNTIL EVERYONE GETS AIDS AND --

-- -- BUT FOR A WHILE THERE

IT'S WHEE!

>> THAT IS THE STORY OF SAN

FRANCISCO, ISN'T IT IT'S ALL

A LOT OF FUN UNTIL EVERYONE

GETS AIDS.

(LAUGHTER)

>> LISTEN, YOU HAVE TO UNDER

STAND SARAH AND I ARE BOTH

CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH.

WE BOTH LIKE TO DISPLACE OUR

REGULAR EMOTIONS SO OUR DEEP

SADNESS AT LOSING ONE OF THE

MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEINGS

AROUND IS DISPLACED INTO

MAKING JOKES AT EACH OTHER'S

EXPENSE.

>> WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

>> SO THIS IS REALLY, I

CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH IT

IS WORTH NOT JUST GETTING

THIS BOOK.

YOU WON'T JUST ENJOY IT, YOU

WILL READ IT MORE THAN ONCE.

THIS MAN KNEW HIS WAY AROUND

A WORD.

>> YEAH, I MEAN YOU KNOW,

AND IT'S SUCH A SLIM VOLUME

BUT HE DOES PACK THIS WHOLE

CENTURY'S WORTH OF STORIES

INTO IT.

AND ALL OF THESE CHARACTERS

AND KIND OF TIES THEM

TOGETHER AT THE END.

AND IT'S SORT OF, IT'S

DIFFERENT FROM HIS ESSAYS.

AND YET IT STILL HAS, I MEAN

HIS ESSAYS WERE SO FUNNY BUT

CODO THAT IN HIS ESSAYS AND

JUST SORT OF BOIL SOMETHING

DOWN TO THE BARE BONES

FUNNIEST WAY TO DESCRIBE

SOMETHING.

YOU KNOW.

LIKE I REMEMBER ONCE, I MEAN

HE WAS THE MASTER OF THE

FISH OUT OF WATER STORY.

>> RIGHT.

>> PARTLY BECAUSE HE WAS A

GAY JEWISH CANADIAN LIKE-- WHERE

WAS HE GOING TO FIT IN.

>> THAT IS-- THAT'S THREE

DIFFERENT FISH, NOWHERE NEAR

WATER.

>> AND HERE-- HE WAS AT THIS

BED & BREAKFAST IN NEW

ENGLAND TRYING TO DESCRIBE

THE DECOR.

AND HE SAID IT-- IT LOOKED

LIKE THE SORT OF PLACE THAT,

THE LOOK THAT RALPH LAURYN

WOULD BURN DOWN A SYNAGOGUE

TO ACHIEVE.

(LAUGHTER)

AND THERE IS SO MUCH GOING

ON IN THAT LITTLE ZINGER,

YOU KNOW.

>> THAT IS THE THING.

>> THE WAY HE WROTE, THE WAY

HE SPOKE AND THIS IS, EVEN

THE DISTILLATION EVEN

FURTHER, CAN GET AN ENTIRE,

AN ENTIRE HUMAN FEELING INTO

A COUP LET, A PERFECTLY

PHRASED QUICK COUP LET.

>> I MEAN YOU KNOW, IT IS

SAD THAT HE'S NOT HERE TO

ENJOY THIS PUBLICATION.

I GUESS SOME PEOPLE WILL DO

ANYTHING TO GET OUT OF GOING

ON BOOK TOURS, BUT I MEAN,

WHEN I GET ONE OF MY BOOKS,

IT'S ALWAYS SOCIAL SIGHTING.

THE FIRST THING I DO IS I

TURN TO THE TITLE PAGE AND I

SEE THERE IS THE LIBRARY 6

CONGRESS CATALOGING

INFORMATION, YOU KNOW.

AND THAT MEANS YOU KNOW,

IT'S GOING TO BE IN THE

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, YOU

KNOW, IT'S MORE IMMORTALITY

THAN ANYONE HAS A RIGHT TO

EXPECT.

AND LIKE LIFE IS SHORT, THE

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IS

FOREVER.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> UNLESS, UNLESS THOSE

BRITISH BASTARDS BURN IT

DOWN AGAIN.

>> OH COME ON.

>> LIKE THEY DID DURING THE

WAR OF 1812.

>> IT HAD TO GO.

IT WAS STRUCTURALLY UNSOUND.

YOU SHOULDN'T BUILD

BUILDINGS SO FLAMMABLE.

>> EVEN, YOU WERE

ALL-- BEFORE THERE WAS --

>> CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ON

THE WEB AND MAYBE DO I A

READING.

IT IS, HE WAS A BEAUTIFUL

MAN THIS SAY BEAUTIFUL BOOK.

DAVID RAKOFF'S BOOK, LOVE,

DISHONOR, MARRY, DIE,

CHERISH, PERISH IS ON THE

BOOK SHELVES NOW.

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