Kurt Andersen has one of those careers that makes him the envy of a lot of folks in media.
The guy has had a fairly golden touch, starting with the birth of the late great humor magazine, Spy, which he co-founded with Graydon Carter and Tom Phillips. He’s also been a columnist for The New Yorker and editor in chief of New York. And he currently hosts public radio’s popular “Studio 360,” which has won a Peabody Award.
KURT ANDERSEN podcast excerpt: “Graydon Carter and I are exactly the kind of people Spy reveled in taking down a peg.”
All that and he tells a pretty fair story on the fictional side, too, first as the author of Heyday and Turn of the Century and most recently with the just released True Believers.
I wanted to hate True Believers just because Andersen does too many things too well. But it just wasn’t possible. It’s a really cool read on multiple levels; for starters, the narrator is a sixty-ish woman once under serious consideration for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. That, by itself, is a neat trick for Andersen; he’s telling his story – her story – in Karen Hollander’s voice.
KURT ANDERSEN podcast excerpt: “Dave Eggers and I are friendly. We got to talking about putting out a one-shot, printed magazine that would pretend as if Spy had never gone out of business, that Might had never gone out of business. Then at some point they had merged into a magazine called ‘Spite.’ I love the idea.”
And then there is all the bouncing back and forth between the current day – actually, a time sightly into the future – and back to 1968, a time in which Karen was quite a different person. One with a pretty big secret.
It’s an easy book to recommend, and it’s a pleasure to welcome its author to our world for the next half hour.
Kurt Andersen Website • Facebook • Twitter • Studio 360 • Spy magazine archive on Google • Order True Believers from Amazon.com • Order Spy: The Funny Years • Listen to Studio 360 on your iPhone or Android mobile device with the Stitcher app