Interview with Mary Helen Specht

Our next interview while in Austin was with Mary Helen Specht whose novel Migratory Animals focuses on two locales, Nigeria and Austin. The central story deals with a woman and her family struggling to come to terms with Huntington’s disease but along the way there are vivid descriptions of life in Nigeria where Mary Helen also spent time after graduate school. Ben Fountain a recent guest on this podcast called Migratory Animals
“An ambitious, highly accomplished debut. . . . Specht moves among a deep cast of characters and corresponding perspectives with absolute mastery. . . . Most important, and impressive, is Specht’s sure handling of the interior life.” The Boston Globe called the novel,
“Migratory Animals brings to the page an astonishing admixture of ambitiousness, originality, and authority that’s rare among established writers and exceptional for a first effort. . . . Richly layered and psychologically incisive, it is that rare first novel that leaves the reader clamoring for the next.”

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