Personal Space: Maya Shanbhag Lang Never Thought She Would Write a Memoir
The Author of What We Carry Talks to Sari Botton
On this episode, Sari talks with Maya Shanbhag Lang, whose memoir, What We Carry, is about the new perspectives she gains on her relationship with her geriatric psychiatrist mom after her mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Lang talks about the surprise of memoir-writing, the value in false narratives, and her deep love of storytelling. Please purchase What We Carry from your favorite local bookstore, or through Bookshop.
From the episode:
Sari Botton: What was the most surprising truth that was revealed to you in the writing of this book?
Maya Shanbhag Lang: My mother, who was a geriatric psychiatrist, an expert in the disease she came down with, she had always been a very scientific, blunt, matter of fact person. My biggest surprise was that the whole time she had been telling me stories—this person who seemed to live so black and white—she was a fiction writer in her own way. I think even when our stories are false, as so many of my mother’s stories ended up being, it doesn’t render them meaningless. The tales she told me, those stories were riddled with untruths and plagued by a suspicious lack of detail, I always bought into them, but what I came away with was a sense that they weren’t true. But they were true to her. They defined her.