Rachel Kushner: Everything Behind You Is Part of Your Present Tense
This Week from the Thresholds Podcast with Jordan Kisner
This is Thresholds, a series of conversations with writers about experiences that completely turned them upside down, disoriented them in their lives, changed them, and changed how and why they wanted to write. Hosted by Jordan Kisner, author of the new essay collection, Thin Places, and brought to you by Lit Hub Radio.
On this episode, Jordan talks to Rachel Kushner about her new essay collection, The Hard Crowd, her reluctance toward imposing transformation arcs on life stories, compiling a collection of essays written over twenty years, and avoiding self-mythologizing while also trying to capture who she is.
From the episode:
Rachel Kushner: Your life is not just a series of present tenses ordered as integers in one great scroll. Everything behind you in the scroll is part of your present tense, and you don’t want to forsake it. You want to honor all of it.
Rachel Kushner is the author of the internationally acclaimed novels The Mars Room, The Flamethrowers, and Telex from Cuba, as well as a book of short stories, The Strange Case of Rachel K. Her new book, The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020 was published in April 2021. She has won the Prix Médicis and been a finalist for the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Folio Prize, the James Tait Black Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was twice a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. She is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and the recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her books have been translated into twenty-six languages.