Marlon James Talks About His Epic New Trilogy

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Marlon James describes himself as “narratively promiscuous” on this week’s podcast. “I just have always had an omnivorous attitude to literature,” he says. “I think it reflects in what I read, and it also reflects in what I want to write.”

James, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” has now embarked on a very different project: a set of three fantasy novels set in a fictional Africa and drawing heavily on mythology. The first of the novels, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” is filled with vampires, demons, witches and shape-shifters.

On the podcast, James talks about the vast amount of research he did before sitting down to write the book, and some of the most remarkable things he learned. “A lot of the fantastical elements in the book are actually true,” he says, “and a lot of the day-to-day things are made up.”

Stephanie Land also visits us this week to talk about her best-selling new book, “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” which recounts the time she spent cleaning houses for $9 an hour while raising her child alone.

“To a lot of people, house cleaning is the first thing to go if they need to stay home for the day, or even if they need to tighten their budget,” Land says. “I felt like I was very disposable.”

Also on this week’s episode, Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about the books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:

“Bowlaway” by Elizabeth McCracken

“Nobody’s Looking at You” by Janet Malcolm

“Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].

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