On this month’s episode of the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, we’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Paula Derdiger to discuss her recent book Reconstruction Fiction: Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain (Ohio State University Press, 2020). 

Dr. Derdiger is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her book Reconstruction Fiction is a literary study that looks at how historical changes in housing after the Second World War impacted the realist literature of British writers. Reading her book had me rushing to the shelves to read the stunning novels she argues were generative responses to the physical and metaphorical rebuilding of society undertaken in the postwar period. 

This is a joyous conversation about literary form and content and style, about how writers respond to each other and the world, and about the social impact of realist fiction. We also spend some time focusing on the writer Elizabeth Bowen in particular, whose novel The Death of the Heart was just discussed in the Library’s Classics Book Discussion. You may just find your new favorite writer listening to this podcast; ultimately, this episode is an enthusiastic appreciation for novelists like Elizabeth Bowen, Colin MacInnes, and Elizabeth Taylor, who are often unknown by many American readers. Dr. Derdiger also grew up in Deerfield and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate her work at her hometown library! Listen here:

You can check out Reconstruction Fiction here at the library or get the pdf (free, open access), as well as find the book on the Ohio State University Press website. Dr. Derdiger can be found on her university webpage.  

We hope you enjoy our 51st interview episode and the end of our fifth year of podcasting! We’ll be back next year, when once again we’ll release monthly episodes featuring conversations with notable guests, including authors, artists, and leaders from Deerfield, Chicagoland, and around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page.

You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to [email protected]