Wed May 27, 2009
"The Little Book" --- a Wonderful New Work of Time-Traveling, History-Exploring Fiction That's Anything but Little.
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's show, we speak with Selden Edwards. His bestselling debut novel --- some 30 years in the making, and just out in paperback --- is called "The Little Book." It's a smart, imaginative, charming, and unforgettable story --- both philosophical and funny, both complex and compelling --- that our host Rich Fisher is quick to categorize, with summer now just around the corner, as "a great summer read." So what exactly is it about, you ask? Well, as a critic writing for Publishers Weekly has noted: "The subtitle of Edwards's Twain-indebted debut [could] be 'A California Yankee in Doctor Freud's Court.' Following a physical assault, Stan 'Wheeler' Burden is precipitated into the past --- 1897 Vienna, to be exact --- from 1988 San Francisco. Wheeler has been a teenage baseball star and famed rock 'n' roller, but he's dreamed of Vienna since his prep school days, where his teacher, Arnauld Esterhazy, instilled a love of the city's gilded paradoxes. Vienna of 1897 is indeed hopping: Freud is discovering the Oedipus complex, Mahler is conducting his symphonies, and the mayor, Karl Lueger, is inventing modern, populist anti-Semitism --- which the young Hitler will soon internalize. Making this a true oedipal drama, Wheeler's father and grandparents come to town, too, all at different ages, and with very different agendas. Edwards has great fun with time travel paradoxes and anachronisms, but the real romance in this book is with the period, topped by nostalgia for the old-school American elite, as represented by the we-all-went-to-the-same-prep-school Burdens. This novel [is] a sweet, wistful elegy to the fantastic promise and failed hopes of the 20th century." Also on today's edition of StudioTulsa: Ian Shoales, our commentator on pop culture, has a few thoughts on two forthcoming Sherlock Holmes movies.