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Podcast Episode 7
12:00pm

Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted

with Gary Barwin
Hosted by Stuart Ross

Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted

with Gary Barwin
Hosted by Stuart Ross
19
Friday
Mar
12:00pm
Gary Barwin - Photo by Adela Talbot

Author, editor and poet, Stuart Ross, hosts a conversation with Gary Barwin, author of the Giller Prize shortlisted Yiddish for Pirates, about his latest novel, Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy .

 

Motl is middle-aged, poor, nerdy, Jewish and in desperate need of a shave. Since having his balls shot cleanly off as a youth in WWI, he's lived a quiet life at home in Vilnius with his shrewd and shrewish mom, Gitl, losing himself in the masculine fantasy world of cowboy novels by writers like Karl May--novels equally loved by Hitler, whose troops have just invaded Lithuania and are out to exterminate people like Motl. In his dreams, Motl is a fast-talking, rugged, expert gunslinger capable of dealing with the Nazi threat. But only in his dreams.

 

As friends and neighbours are killed around them, Motl and Gitl escape from Vilnius, saving their own skins. But they immediately risk everything to try rescue relatives they hope are still alive. With death all around him, Motl decides that a Jew's best revenge is not only to live, but to procreate. In order to achieve this, though, he must relocate those most crucial pieces of his anatomy lost to him in a glacier in the Swiss Alps in the previous war. It's an absurd yet life-affirming mission, made even more urgent when he's separated from his mother, and isn't sure whether she's alive or dead. Joining forces, and eventually hearts, with Esther, a Jewish woman whose family has been killed, Motl ventures across Europe, a kaleidoscope of narrow escapes and close encounters with everyone from Himmler, to circus performers, double agents, quislings, fake "Indians" and real ones. Motl at last figures out that he has more connection to the Indigenous characters in western novels than the cowboys.

 

Books are available from our friends at  Perfect Books .

 

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