This week I am SO happy to be sharing my conversation with Nash Jenkins! Nash is a fellow alum of Johns Hopkins and as in the Writing Seminars program. Although we only overlapped briefly, I was so excited to hear the news that he had published his debut novel Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos.
“When Foster Dade arrives at Kennedy, an elite boarding school in New Jersey, the year is 2008. Barack Obama begins his first term as president. Kanye West’s “Graduation” bumps from the newly debuted iPhone; teenagers share confidences and rumors over BlackBerry Messenger and iChat. The internet as we know it today is slowly emerging from its cocoon. So, too, is Foster emerging—a transfer student and lonely young man, Foster is stumbling through adolescence in the wake of his parents’ scandalous divorce and his own budding anxiety disorders. But Foster soon finds himself in the company of Annabeth Whittaker and Jack Albright, the twin centers of Kennedy’s social gravity, who take him under their wing to navigate the cliques and politics of the carelessly entitled.
Eighteen months later, Foster will be expelled, following a tragic scandal that leaves Kennedy and its students irreparably changed. But when a nameless student inherits Foster’s old dorm room, he begins an epic years long investigation into what exactly happened. Through Foster’s blog posts, playlists, text archives, and interviews with former classmates, and the narrator’s own obsessive imagination, a story unfurls—Foster’s, yes, but also one that asks us who owns our personal narratives, and how we shape ourselves to be the heroes or villains of our own stories.
Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos is about privilege and power, the pitfalls of masculinity and its expectations, and, most distinctly, how we create the mythologies that give meaning to our lives. With his debut novel, Nash Jenkins brilliantly captures the emotional intensities of adolescence in the dizzying early years of the twenty-first century.”
Like myself, Nash as a new sophomore at a prestigious boarding school in New Jersey, and his time at Lawrenceville made an incredible impact on his life and his writing. In this podcast interview, Nash and I talk about the unique and complex nature of the boarding school experience, as well as the perfect and painful process of being a teenager with little sense of direction. I can honestly say that Foster Dade is one of the most beautiful and powerful books I have read in a very long time (and I have been reading a lot). To learn more about Nash and to buy his new book, you can visit: http://www.nashjenkins.com/ and follow him on Instagram @pnashjenkins.
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