Friday, February 13, 2015

Listen, Slowly to This Interview

Yesterday afternoon I heard an amazing interview on NPR's All Things Considered with author Thanhha Lai, who won the National Book Award and a Newbery Honor for her first novel Inside Out and Back Again (HarperCollins, 2011).

Lai has a new book coming out next week on February 17, called Listen, Slowly, and NPR's Rachel Martin talked to her about the inspiration for the story and about her use of language in the book. Martin observed that the voice is significantly different from the one used in her first novel, Inside Out and Back Again, which was written in prose poems. Lai described the voice in her new novel as the 12-year-old character thinking in "snarky English." Parts of the dialogue are in italics to signify that Vietnamese is being spoken. It's the first language of the girl's grandmother and while she understands it, she doesn't speak it.

Lai expands upon this by talking about her own "bilingual mind" and how she wanted to play with this concept in her book. Listen, Slowly sounds amazing, and I can't wait to read it. I'm placing my order for it with my local independent bookstore, A Room of One's Own, today so I can get the book as soon as it comes out.

If you missed the interview, there's a transcript online. You'll also find a link at the top of the page to the actual audio interview. I really encourage you to take the time to listen to it. It's great to hear Thanhha Lai's own voice.
Want more about this author? Check out her page at

1 comment:

  1. Off to put this book on reserve. Thanks for the heads-up! I loved Inside Out and Back Again.