Call me Jennifer. Call me Chris. This week on the Sewanee Review Podcast, editor Adam Ross is joined by Jennifer Habel and Chris Bachelder to discuss their co-authored novel Dayswork. Set during the protracted days of a global pandemic, Dayswork captures one woman’s meticulous interest in the life—and the scholarship about the life—of Herman Melville: while we may know the great novel, what about the household in which the great story was written? Who was breakfasting at the kitchen table while Melville was toiling away in his study? What can we say about the writers and scholars who, for over a century, have found themselves similarly consumed by such questions of devotion? In this conversation, Habel and Bachelder sift through the vagaries of marriage, art making, and ambition, while considering the impetus for their own totalizing novel.
Chris Bachelder is the author of four novels, including The Throwback Special, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Terry Southern Prize for Humor. Jennifer Habel is the author of the poetry collections Good Reason and The Book of Jane, which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Habel and Bachelder live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Luke Gair and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.