Welcome to Late Night Conversation. Tonight, Doug talks to Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas. Doug and Chris discuss the role of place in fiction, the mythos inherent to cities, symbiotic relationships between genres, and why you will never see Chris in line for Space Mountain.
The entire notion of being human is a myth. The way we differentiate ourselves as a species is through storytelling. We come to narrate the world and our relationship to it, and that largely forms what we think of as what makes us human. It is so steeped in mythology. Language itself is a very strange construction, when you think about it. More and more in the 21st century, language functions in a transactional way. But in Igbo culture and Yoruba cultures, language is a philosophical construct….Every conversation, every transaction in language, in certain cultures, is almost ontological, a query into being.
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About our guest
Chris Abani is an acclaimed author. His most recent novel is The Secret History of Las Vegas. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.