Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Episode 29: Lynn Coady, The Antagonist


This might come as a shock, listeners, but Tom actually had a reason for picking this book. Miracles can happen! Lynn Coady’s 2013 novel The Antagonist is written as a series of emails from a man who’s recently discovered that his former friend mined the intimate details of his life for fiction.


Talking points include: epistolary novels, aggrieved exes, Canadian rock, SARS, grilled cheese, and whether writers can have friends.

Here’s a link to purchase James Boice’s short story “Pregnant Girl, Smoking,” which we mentioned in the episode. Closing music for the episode is by The Tragically Hip.

Stream the episode right here on our site:

Download Episode 29 (right-click, save-as)

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Thanks for listening!


Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

4 thoughts on “Episode 29: Lynn Coady, The Antagonist

  1. Slowly getting better at telling you guys apart. Do wish you’d repeat your names more throughout the podcast. I am pretty sure, though, that it was Tom who said that he never really gets worried about writing about other people.
    Man-o-man. I stress about this endlessly. Maybe because my main themes always go back to sex and the very strange ways in which I have ended up sleeping with people in the past, but man – this is something that has wigged me out and worried me since I was like 10 years old.
    The hours I have devoted to worrying about these things…. Also for my storytelling. It just has me up nights.
    I guess I just can’t have friends.

    • Yes. I am replying to myself.
      I keep thinking about this topic – the “can writers have friends” topic.
      I just realized that I have already lost friends this way. I wrote a little novella years ago that I put up as an audiobook, for free, on (it’s still there) about a bunch of dudes I know in my hometown. It came out. Everyone back home listened to it. I made fun of them some, sure, and pointed out some of their flaws, but mostly everyone just shrugged.
      So, cool.
      Then years later I published it as an ebook on Amazon, as a second book in a two novella volume. I made a much bigger deal out of the first book as I promoted it. Hardly anyone has read either book (surprise, surprise), but – this second publication brought on a stronger reaction with this group of dudes. Maybe real text held their attention better? Now, I am persona non grata with them back home. Mainly because I made some jokes about one of them who is an effing drunk being an effing drunk. At least, that’s what I have gleaned. No one has talked to me about it.
      So that’s sort of a bummer. Not really. But sorta. So – yes – writers can’t have friends.
      I already alienate people anyway, so I might as well quit fighting it and go all the way into this philosophy, right?
      Yes. I think so.
      Hand me my laptop and a flask of whiskey. Let’s do this.

      • “I already alienate people anyway, so I might as well quit fighting it and go all the way into this philosophy, right?”

        That’s basically the approach I settled on a few years ago. Maybe not wise in the long run, but at least I feel like I’m not lying to myself.

  2. Pingback: Episode 30: Tove Jansson, The True Deceiver | Book Fight!

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