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Sunday 16:00-16:30, repeated Thursday 16:00-16:30, except first Sunday in the month when it is replaced by Book Club.
Open Book spotlights new fiction and non-fiction, picks out the best of the paperbacks, talks to authors and publishers, and unearths lost masterpieces.
This week
27 April 2008
William Sutcliffe (© Maggie O'Farrell)

This week on Open Book: Dmitri Nabokov on deciding to save his father's last work from the flames; William Sutcliffe on men who refuse to grow up; and writing "faction".
William Sutcliffe
Mariella meets the novelist William Sutcliffe, whose gap-year satire Are You Experienced? was a bestseller ten years ago. He talks about his latest novel, about three childhood friends men in their thirties, who are rather taken aback when their mothers announce that they've come to stay for a week - and sort out their love lives. He explains his fascination with men who refuse to grow up, and why he hates lads' mags.
Whatever Makes You Happy is out now, published by Bloomsbury.

Nabokov's Last Novel
When Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, died in 1977, he left an unfinished novel called Laura, which he instructed his family to burn. For the last thirty years it has sat in a bank vault as his son has considered whether to obey. This week he announced that he's decided to publish it. He explains to Mariella how he finally came to this decision, and reveals some previously unknown details about its contents.

Tontines Revisited
Last week on Open Book, Will Self told Mariella about discovering a word in the dictionary, "tontine", which supplied him with a plot device. In response to the many listeners who wrote in with examples from novels, Mariella talks to Moneybox presenter and 19th-century literature expert Paul Lewis to find out more.
Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne: The Wrong Box is available in paperback (various publishers).

Writing "Faction"
"Faction" is a genre of literature sitting somewhere between fact and fiction. Mariella is joined by the authors of two new novels which fictionalise the lives of well-known historical figures, TE Lawrence and Mary Lincoln, the widow of the American President Abraham. Robert Ryan and Janis Cooke Newman discuss how they combined the techniques of the novel with meticulous attention to historical accuracy.
Robert Ryan: Empire of Sand is published in hardback by Headline. Janis Cooke Newman: Mrs Lincoln is published by Myrmidon.

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