Jeffrey Toobin on Writing About Trump

Jeffrey Toobin on Writing About Trump


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Jeffrey Toobin has written nine books, nearly all of them involving intense research and reporting about the current moment. But on this week’s podcast, he talks about what made working on his latest, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump,” such a different experience.

“Trump makes it different,” he says. “The president is such an anomalous figure in American history. His complete disregard for norms. His constant lying. His inability or unwillingness to play by rules that Democrats and Republicans have played by for certainly all of my conscious life. It makes everything about these last three and a half years just feel different than anything I’ve ever covered, and anything I’ve ever felt as a citizen. We’ve had conservative presidents, we’ve had liberal presidents, but we’ve never had a president like Trump.”

Dayna Tortorici visits the podcast to talk about Elena Ferrante’s new novel, “The Lying Life of Adults,” which she reviewed for us.

Tortorici discusses, among other subjects, the “breathless, pile-on style” in stretches of Ferrante’s work. “The sentences have a real, almost verbal logic to them. They’re mimetic of how people who are breathlessly describing an emotion do it. There’s not clean sentences. Even in less intense or emotionally volatile novels that she writes, this reappears as a style. You have a person — a woman — who’s reflecting on a story, usually there’s a frame narrative, and as she gets closer to the bone of the emotion in the story, she sort of starts to lose the control and the niceness of the sentences, and they start to have this motion and momentum of their own.”

Also on this week’s episode, Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.



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