BFG Podcast #031: Gary Shteyngart, ‘House of Gucci,’ ‘Licorice Pizza,’ and ‘The Wheel of Time’

Editor Neal Pollack and our site’s writers break down the week in culture

In this week’s thrilling edition of the Book and Film Globe Week in Review, editor Neal Pollack welcomes Ayun Halliday to talk about ‘Our Country Friends,‘ the new novel from Gary Shteyngart. This first real COVID-19 novel isn’t about the virus at all, but is, instead, a juicy comedy of manners about fancy art-type people trying to escape New York City. Ayun highly recommends this book, an homage to Anton Chekhov that is also very much of the moment.

Stephen Garrett pops by to talk about two new movies. First up, ‘House of Gucci,’ a tonal mess and total disappointment from Ridley Scott. It can’t decide whether to be a serious family business drama or some sort of camp classic. So it ends up being neither. But ‘Licorice Pizza,’ directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, comes with Stephen’s highest recommendation. This tale of young love in the early 1970s evokes the glories of the San Fernando Valley in much sweeter mode than ‘Boogie Nights‘.

Then it’s TV time with Paula Shaffer, who at least has gotten to see the Amazon Prime adaptation of the high-fantasy novel series ‘The Wheel of Time.’ Paula read the books while she was recovering from COVID. Now she’s well again and liking the show well enough. Neal is watching it too, and he thinks it’s ridiculous. But that’s what makes ‘Lord of the Rings’ knock-off horse races.

Enjoy the show!

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