The author has a new novel called Mosquito Coast, which he describes as a family adventure novel in the tradition of Treasure Island. In fiction and real life, he is interested in the impulse to leave one's home country, either as a traveler or an immigrant.
Hankus Netsky is the founder and leader of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. Klezmer mixes traditional Yiddish and Israeli music with American influences. Netsky joins the show to discuss the history of the genre and to share 78-records of klezmer music from the 1920s.
Writer Joan Didion. Known for her self-reflective essays and reporting, Didion is one of America's most important writers. Her books include A Book of Common Prayer, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Salvador. With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote the screenplay for "True Confessions." Her new book is titled Miami.
Writer Jan Novak. He has just published his second English novel, titled The Grand Life. His first was titled The Willys Dream Kit. Novak emigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia 17 years ago.
Novelist and translator Richard Lourie. His new novel is titled Zero Gravity and follows his successful debut First Loyalty. Lourie has been closely involved with the Russian and Polish underground intelligentsia and the emigre communities in America.
Writer, photographer and teacher MARGARET RANDALL. For 23 years, she lived throughout Latin and Central America, writing about the people, and in particular the lives of the women. She has published almost 50 books of poetry, prose and oral history. Since her return to the United States from an extended stay in Latin America, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been trying to deport her. Randall and her supporters claim that is because Randall's writing is sharply critical of government policy in Central America.
Ronald Takaki. He's the grandson of Japanese immigrants and a professor of Ethnic Studies at Berkeley. His book, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans, tells the diverse stories of Asian immigrants who have come to the United States during the past century and a half. Takaki relates the personal testimonies of new immigrants and their American-born children.
The Cuban-born poet and essayist has just written his first novel, "The Marks of Birth." It explores the experience of exile through the eyes of a young character whose family is forced to flee the political unrest of a Caribbean island-nation, and begin again in America. Medina has also written two collections of poems: "Pork Rind and Cuban Songs" and "Arching into the Afterlife," and a book of personal essays entitled "Exiled Memories: A Cuban Childhood."