Eleanor Catton Guest on New York Times Podcast
The New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton, who won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 for her novel The Luminaries, discusses her latest book, Birnam Wood, with New York Times Book Review podcast host Gilbert Cruz.
Birnam Wood is a rollicking eco-thriller that juggles a lot of heady themes with a big plot and a heedless sense of play – no surprise, really, from a writer who won Britain’s prestigious Booker for her previous novel and promptly established herself as a leading light in New Zealand’s literary community.
In the podcast, Cambridge-based Catton tells Cruz how that early success affected her writing life (not much) as well as her life outside of writing (her marriage made local headlines, for one thing). She also discusses her aims for the new book and grapples with the slippery nature of New Zealand’s national identity.
“You very often hear New Zealanders defining their country in the negative rather than in the positive,” she says. “It’s born out of an inferiority complex, but like many inferiority complexes, it manifests as a superiority complex.”
Original article by Gilbert Cruz, The New York Times, April 28, 2023.