Podcasts of the week: on Knausgaard, music and the Raj


Our struggle could be the “worst podcast idea ever,” said John Phipps in The spectator. In it, our two young American animators, Lauren Teixeira and Drew Ohringer, discuss with their guests the Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard, and his “six-book memoir-cum-roman-cum-lawsuit-magnet” My battle.

It sounds a bit niche, but this “hip and funny” podcast has become the “hit of the year in transatlantic literary circles”. A lot of Our struggleThe attraction of s is that he “leads his long digressions” in a typical Knausgaardian way: “with a genius carelessness neither for the task to be accomplished nor for what one might think of it”.

Indeed, sometimes these Knausgaard podcasters seem to want to talk about everything but Knausgaard – “cigarettes, Constance Garnett, the history of literary criticism, how warmth is a function of height” – until the only territory left uncovered is “Knausgaard himself, described only by omission, in negative outline, raising yet another cigarette to his smoking and craggy face”.

It is “frankly unexpected” in these “hypersensitive” times to come across a program like Raj!, who seems to have as touchstones the tastes of Distant pavilions, The man who wanted to be king and Continue on the Khyber, said Patricia Nicol in Sunday Times. This fantasy comedy, by Meera Syal and Mark Evans, is set in “India’s deadliest province, West-by-Northwest-and-a-Tiny-Bit-East Punjab”.

The characters include British Governor Henry Snebworth, his mother, the Dowager Duchess of Scathingtongue, the Maharajah Sunil of the province and his murderous mother the Rajmata. The humor is “broad and terribly silly”, with a lot of genre clichés. The pace is brisk and the performances are lively, especially of Jennifer Saunders and Syal as rival matriarchs. “Follow him and he pulls you away. “

The recent quartet of Radio 4 A life in music was a “delight,” said Miranda Sawyer in The observer. Presented by Jude Rogers, the series, available on BBC Sounds, is both a personal exploration of one’s own musical development and an “intelligent and sensitive examination” – with contributions from musicians, neuroscientists, psychologists and others – of how music “helps us access the joys and disasters of who we are and where we are in the world.”

Another recent highlight of Radio 4 that is worth looking out for is Adults, almost, which explores the experience of confinement for various young people aged 17 and 18. “The confinement was a relief… I had a GCSE Spanish oral that I hadn’t studied for,” said one of them, Kezia, happily. “Oh, they were so optimistic, even when they were feeling down; how nice to hear such a natural mind and such a pleasure in life.

Adults almost podcast


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