Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 56: Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing

We’re joined by musician and novelist Wesley Stace (who you may also know as John Wesley Harding) to discuss the first novel in Anthony Powell’s 12-book cycle A Dance to the Music of Time. Once Mike finishes geeking out about meeting one of his favorite musicians——before recording the episode, Mike pulled his copy of Why We Fight off the shelf, and discovered he’d worn it out so much in his teens that his CD player wouldn’t even recognize the disc——we get down to discussing the book, and why Stace loves it so much.


In our second segment, we talk with Stace about his insistence that his first novel be published under his real name, and why people are so skeptical of musicians and actors who decide to write novels. We also talk about why there aren’t more good novels about rock music, Stace’s newest book, Wonderkid, his NPR variety show Cabinet of Wonders, the Wiggles, cricket, apple pie beds, James Bond, and Mr. Bean.

Stace’s most recent album is Self Titled, which we would enthusiastically recommend. The music featured in the episode (possibly to Stace’s consternation) all comes from his 1992 album, Why We Fight, which meant a lot to Mike as a teenager and which he thoroughly enjoyed revisiting (after buying a new copy to replace the worn-out one).

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode. We also welcome your feedback on what we discussed: You can email us, or hit us up on Twitter.


Download Episode 56 (right-click, save-as)