Booklovers’ Cafe – Jonathan Evison, Small World

(Airdate: July 5, 2022) Jonathan Evison has been assessing America through novels about working-class folks — home health aides, lawn workers. His 2011 novel West of Here seems most in companionship with his latest, Small World. Both are sprawling sagas with dual timelines that follow late-19th-century Westerners and their contemporary descendants. Small World opens with a train accident in 2019. The engineer, Walter Bergen, has had a perfect record until this, the final run of his career. The train, heading to Seattle, is “hurtling toward the unavoidable” — both the inevitable crash and, for Walter, an increasing awareness of that final movement in our lives. As ever an enjoyable conversation about engaging characters.