The Point Podcast

Selected Essays | Apoorva Tadepalli on Maeve Brennan

March 19, 2024 The Point Magazine Season 2 Episode 4
Selected Essays | Apoorva Tadepalli on Maeve Brennan
The Point Podcast
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The Point Podcast
Selected Essays | Apoorva Tadepalli on Maeve Brennan
Mar 19, 2024 Season 2 Episode 4
The Point Magazine

On this episode of “Selected Essays,” Jess and Zach talk with Apoorva Tadepalli about Maeve Brennan’s “Lost Overtures” and her Electric Lit essay “It’s Okay to Talk to Me When I’m Trying to Read.

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of “Selected Essays,” Jess and Zach talk with Apoorva Tadepalli about Maeve Brennan’s “Lost Overtures” and her Electric Lit essay “It’s Okay to Talk to Me When I’m Trying to Read.

Jessica Swoboda  00:00

Hey everyone, welcome to Selected Essays, a podcast series from The Point magazine about essays you should read, but probably haven't. Each episode we'll be talking with writers about an essay that's influenced one of their own. My name is Jess Swoboda, and I'm here with my co host Zach Fine.  


Zach Fine  00:22

Hey everyone, this week we spoke with Apoorva Tadepalli about Maeve Brennan's essay "Last Overtures," which was collected in The Longwinded Lady: Notes from the New Yorker in 1969 and Apoorva's "It's Okay to Talk to Me When I'm Trying to Read," which was published in Electric Literature in 2018. Apoorva is a writer from New York who has served as an assistant editor for Latham's Quarterly and a fact checker for The New Republic and Guernica. Her essays have appeared in The Point, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, the Yale Review, The Nation, and The Baffler, among others. 


Jessica Swoboda  00:52

We hope you'll enjoy this episode, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. If you have questions, comments, or anything else, send an email to We'd love to hear from you. And also, be sure to subscribe to The Point, the magazine that brings you content like this podcast. You can find a 50% off discount code exclusive to listeners in the episode notes. Hey, Apoorva thanks so much for joining us on this episode of Selected Essays. 


Apoorva Tadepalli  01:34

Thank you. So nice to be here. 


Jessica Swoboda  01:36

And so I wondered if we could start by having you tell us a bit about why you like Maeve Brennan and what you find most interesting about her? 


Apoorva Tadepalli  01:45

Yeah, yeah, I came to Maeve Brennan, I kind of discovered her in like, in like, just literally the classic like, found her in the $1 shelf at The Strand, didn't know who she was like in my first week of New York like, it's it's just like a it's a very Maeve Brennan story, I think, and like I just enjoyed, like her tone of sort of just wandering around not really looking for anything in particular sort of energy. I, I spent a lot of my first year in New York alone, doing sort of the things that she does, and I found her just like a contentment with people watching to be to be really, really good company. And and, and I also sort of through her through her through like watching her behavior in New York became to really appreciate like my own company in New York.


Jessica Swoboda  02:46

And then I'm wondering if you could tell us a bit about her biography.


Apoorva Tadepalli  02:49

Yeah, she was born in Dublin in 1917. She grew up there, she came to, I think Washington DC at the age of 17, when her father got a job. And then she sort of spent the rest of her teen years in North Carolina in like the suburbs, and she came to New York, really after that working, just working random jobs. She kind of got into Harper's Weekly at a very young age, which was like a sort of women's sort of women's run magazine. And she started moving in literary circles in New York, and then kind of moved to the more male dominated New Yorker, you know, spent a lot of time with other Irish Americans. You never really never really had a fixed home in New York. She's sort of stayed at friends houses and in motels.


Zach Fine  03:47

And of all of Brennan's essays, you selected "Lost Overtures." Can you tell us why this essay and what what it's about?


Apoorva Tadepalli  03:55

So this is an essay that's just just a very short essay, that's basically two scenes that take place in two different restaurants. And she just sort of describes people trying to connect with each other and sort of not really succeeding, and I'll read it, but I just thought that the sort of, well, the minor tragedy of it was very striking. But also, I find I find her sympathy towards these people who are just seeking sort of companionship that is sort of unplanned talks in a in another essay somewhere about the accidental nature of our lives. Like she has a sympathy towards these people she's describing who are like seeking some sort of, you know, unplanned companionship with with other strangers. And I thought that that was very sweet like the way she looks at these people who are trying to make friends in these restaurants and are kind of not allowed I want to because because it looks sort of unseemly. 


Zach Fine  05:05

Usually we have people read just the first passage of an essay, but could you read the whole thing for us? 


Apoorva Tadepalli  05:09

Actually, I can read both scenes. Yes. Yeah, it's a very short essay. "Early the other evening, I was sitting in a restaurant on lower Fifth Avenue that has peach colored walls and a softly lighted mirror running the length of the bar when a striking red haired lady in a black dress with pearls who was sitting by herself at a table not far from mine stood up and walked to a corner table, where a nice looking man was sitting alone, reading his evening paper while he waited for someone to come and take his order. He was a careful, orderly man. He had already folded his newspaper up small so that he could read it and at the same time, eat his dinner. The lady bent over this man and said something to him, and he glanced up and then got up immediately looking very pleased and confused, and collected his briefcase and followed her back to her table. He was still clutching his newspaper. She sat down, but at the last moment when he was almost in his chair, he hesitated and began looking around and behind him. Are you sure you're alone? He asked. Of course, I'm alone, she replied. He sat down and she picked up her drink and started gazing at hem possessively. She looked possessive, but very good humoured. They were just beginning to talk when the headwaiter a big dignified man appeared from a distant corner of the restaurant and saw the change that had been made and his seating arrangements. He walked swiftly to where the lady sat with her flattered captive, who had settled back and seemed about to relax, sir, so the head reader, please go back to your own table. The men, everything was happening to him, jumped up, gathered his briefcase and his newspaper to his chest and scurried to his corner table, and picked up the menu and held it in front of his cowardly face. The lady was annoyed. Just who do you think you are? She said to the head waiter. Lady said the head waiter, do me a favor, please go home. Don't talk to me like that. She said, Who do you think you are? Don't you talk to me like I was dirt lady. So the headwaiter, please don't tell me that I am talking to you like you were dirt. Unfortunately, I had already paid my check and put on my gloves. And I hadn't the nerve to just sit there watching. So I had to leave without hearing the rest of the report take. Two evenings later I was in the state of ours on West 49th Street. It was peaceful there a warm, rainy evening. I had worked my way through time, back to front and was starting in on Newsweek when someone came and stood beside me. I looked up and it was a very tall, solemn, scholarly looking young man who had made a good deal of fuss over his briefcase when he came into the restaurant. He had given his hat to the check room girl, but he had taken his briefcase to the bar with him after explaining to her that he was afraid something might happen to it. Then when he sat at the bar, he had balanced the briefcase on his feet for a while, which meant that he had to keep reaching down to set it straight. Finally, he had gone back and given it to the check room, girl and watch while she put it away on a high shelf. That had all happened some time before. Now he stood by my table and looked gloomily at me and said, I don't mean to insult you. Then he said, I want to know if you will have a drink with me. I said, No, thank you. I'm waiting for somebody. I was sitting at a table for one. You are waiting for somebody he said. And he went back to his place at the bar. 10 or 15 minutes later, two ladies in small serviceable hats came in and sat down at the table next to me, they spoke French. One of them was French or spoke like a French woman and the other was speaking some French he had learned using only whole sentences. And they both had loud, confident voices. The scholarly man got off a stool and came over to them. I don't mean to insult you, he said. They stared up at him. He began to smile and then he beamed at them. Oliver barely eats, he said. Mr. Raymond, who had been gazing into the cash register, hurried over and took him by the elbow and began to tow him back to the bar. Miss your Mr. Raymond said you don't know those people, please, Mr. silverplate. I didn't mean to insult anybody, the man said. But he allowed himself to be placed back at the bar, where he sat guarding his drink with both elbows and looking resentful. The lesson to be learned from these two encounters is that if everybody in the city were sorted out and set going in the right direction, New York would soon become a very quiet place.


Jessica Swoboda  09:31

So the second story of that it's just so like these two encounters and it's so funny. And the second part too, it's like Maeve Brennan, you're being a bit savage. I don't know like she's clearly sitting at a table for a while and she still says to this guy "no I'm waiting for someone" when she's clearly not, and it just gets me every time.


Apoorva Tadepalli  09:51

But like, I agree, but I think I think she was still rooting for him, you know, even though she was kind of like, I don't really need to be the one to fulfill this dream of yours, but I still think you should be. Well, like, she's she's definitely, she definitely is, she believes that he should be allowed to ask her. Like, she's definitely not offended. I mean she doesn't really want to hang out with him. But yeah, it's, it's, it's very, it's just so you know, like, the whole, just the way she describes him he's like, getting towed back to the bar and like, allowing himself to be placed there and like, guarding his drink. Like, he's, it's kind of like the man in the previous story where like, everything is happening to him. This bumbling man is just like getting, like, can't catch a break. And everybody's just like, you know, only doing things to him and like, imposing their like, values on him. And it's, yeah, it's, it's it's very tragic. And also funny. 


Jessica Swoboda  11:01

Yeah and the descriptions are so rich. Like I love the scene of this man trying to balance his briefcase on his feet. Like why are you doing that? But I'm also it makes me wonder like, do you ever think that Brennan is hiding something from us and not giving us the full picture? Because to me, there's like in the first scene, and that, that story, there seems to be like a disconnect between the interaction between the man and the woman and then the interaction when the waiter comes into play. It just seems like I'm like, why is this waiter being so aggressive? Like the interaction doesn't sort of yield that type of aggression? And so I'm like, oh, is


Apoorva Tadepalli  11:38

anything from between the waiter and the woman? You mean? Yes.


Jessica Swoboda  11:43

Like it's so aggressive as compared to like, the interaction between the man and the woman? Yeah. So like, what's warranting that aggression? And so I'm like, oh, is Brennan hiding something from us? Is she not giving us the full story here? Or what?


Apoorva Tadepalli  11:56

That's, that's really interesting. I kind of always just assume I mean, like it is, it is a really heated discussion. And I don't feel like yeah, I when I read the scene, I don't feel like it's warranted. I kind of just assumed that maybe, in that social context, it was much more taboo to do what she did than it would seem to me if I was seeing it, in my context, but it might be that she was in her sympathy for this woman, sort of trying to just omit something that made the situation a lot more tense than we realize. 


Zach Fine  12:33

Reading Brennan, I often have a really tough time nailing down her tone. And I can't tell if she's being glib or funny or if it's just a kind of an awry way that she has or if there's some kind of antecedent, another writer that she's channeling in some ways. How would you describe her her tonally?


Apoorva Tadepalli  12:50

Well, it's it's really interesting she meet, let me try and find it. She actually writes in, she writes in like the author's note, to one of the issues as a Long Winded Lady, she describes herself as a traveler in residence, which is an interesting phrase that we can come back to later. But she says, as a traveler, she is interested in what she sees, but she is not very curious, not even inquisitive. He is not a sightseer, never an explorer. And she's talking about the physical places that she's where she sets her scenes, but I think it also kind of applies to the style of like, kind of not really inserting herself into these stories very much. I mean, some of the stories are about her, but but even when she's describing herself, she kind of lets the movements and interactions sort of speak for themselves. Like she doesn't. I think Jess was saying earlier that it's not really until the end of most of her essays that you kind of get any amount of opinion or analysis, which I just think is nice. Like she just sort of describes what's happening to people and what they're doing. And the comedy just sort of comes from that. 


Jessica Swoboda  14:04

Yeah, Apoorva, you mentioned like how the end we don't get judgment until the end. And I'm wondering then how we're supposed to perceive the character she describes in the story because she does withhold judgment. But the fact of documentation would at least suggest these people are worth paying attention to. So just how you're supposed to perceive these people?


Apoorva Tadepalli  14:24

Well it's, yeah, I think it's really she's really like kind of undiscriminating, in, in what she seems to think is like worth looking at. I think what's kind of interesting about these essays is that some of them are kind of boring, like, and I don't even mean that in a bad way. I mean, like, sometimes you do, come away from a certain encounter, not with nothing, but but just with a sense of like, okay, well, this is really just one slice of what's going on. I mean, there's no ending here. Like, you know, most of what she's describing is just just really doesn't have a beginning or an end. It's just, it's just like, it's almost like, you know, blurred photographs. I think that that that's kind of, it's kind of cool that she's so she doesn't seem to have like an antenna for who is interesting and who isn't. I think she actually says, yeah, in the same passage that I read, she's She says she's never felt the urge, she will, she's just talking about herself in third person, but she says, she's never felt the urge that drives people to investigate the city from top to bottom. And again, she's talking about, you know, like neighborhoods in the city. But I think this also applies to people too, you know, she's not really seeking out a particular kind of person. particular kind of interesting person, like she's really thinking one of her in one of her short stories, actually, it's maybe not in this book, but she, the character is telling his cat, "do you know what a view is? A view is somewhere where we are not." And then the cat in the story, like, reflects on this idea and is and thinks to herself, like I'm, I'm really just satisfied with where I am, like, I don't really need a view, which is really sweet. That's kind of, I think that kind of describes the narrator as well.


Zach Fine  16:23

But I don't know, I find that oftentimes, when I'm reading her, like you were, you quoted her earlier talking about not being particularly curious or inquisitive. But I have trouble believing that in some ways, because she goes to these kinds of mundane places, and is so astute in her observations about people that she seems so curious, and so inquisitive in some ways. And so do you, do you fully by her kind of claim there that she's not, you know, that she's kind of an outsider and isn't really, you know, intently observing things in the city? Or do you, do you find that she is kind of flying her own intentions that are a little bit?


Apoorva Tadepalli  17:01

No, I think it's definitely a good, like a good narrative device to sort of establish credibility as, as the "I" telling the story that like, to sort of, say straight out that she doesn't really have any personal stakes. So yes, it is definitely a device that's used to her credit, and to help her position as the narrator. But a but there's, I think there's some truth in it in that she, or at least what what comes out of these essays is that she's not really looking for, I don't think she's really trying to draw anything out of them in order to make them worthwhile subjects. You know, like, because, well, you know, some say she's not curious, is, is a little bit of a stretch, but she's definitely not demanding of like, what happens like I would, I would imagine that she witnessed, you know, many times as many scenes as she actually wrote about, you know, what I mean, like, she went and sat in restaurants and like, walked down the street, and noticed so much more than she actually wrote and published. But I would think that she sort of had that same same sort of accepting eye towards everything she saw, even if you know, maybe her editors didn't think that it was worth writing about. 


Jessica Swoboda  18:27

Right. I identify with Brennan in some ways, because I'm someone who spends a lot of time by myself. I travel by myself a lot. I go to restaurants and bars by myself quite a bit. And I'm often doing the same thing that Brendan's doing and that's people watching and making note of the somewhat embarrassing moments other people are hoping go unnoticed. Like I'm assuming that the man would prefer the man with the briefcase would prefer to go unnoticed and no one observes the fact that he is in fact balancing briefcase on his feet, but in some ways, it's like, okay, on the one hand, she's kind of showing us that like, these everyday moments are worth like describing and worth accounting and worth paying attention to. And then on the other hand, she's also doing this thing where she what she is recording is what's what is often embarrassing, and what people are embarrassed by it. So I'm like wondering, why is it, why is it those moments you choosing to record? Is it like the gossip element attached to this? Or, or what? I don't know.


Apoorva Tadepalli  19:32

I mean, I would not want to be sitting at a restaurant where she was dining alone, for sure. But I I think that the I don't know, I guess people are sort of maybe people are just the most relatable or the most sympathetic when they're sort of when they're exhibiting what she she calls elsewhere, private failures. They're just when they're just when they're just failing in these, like small, low stakes ways. And it's very clear to someone who's paying attention what, what the hope was or what the what the plan was, or, or yeah, and you kind of see that very quietly, not go according to plan and you see the reaction, you know, of someone who's realizing that it's not going to plan and sort of hoping no one notices, and I mean, the the just the whole, I don't know, the whole dynamic is, I think, what makes what makes these characters so sympathetic in in kind of a tragic way. And like, I wouldn't, I wouldn't call her cruel, some of her writing is a little bit darker and more cruel. Like her her short stories in the Rose Garden, these these ones, I think, are a little bit like, a portrait of like, people just trying to get by, you know. And like that, that just trying to get by-ness is i is what I find so sort of moving about, about these people who are, I don't know, like, just not up not really at their best.


Jessica Swoboda  21:20

Yeah, I mean, and you can sense that in the way that she's perceiving these these characters as well. But I still don't know if I would want to be a character in a Maeve Brennan essay, because it means I've done something embarrassing. Like if we're if we're taking this one, if we're thinking that the way she's documenting these people in "Lost Overtures" and what she's paying attention to, it's like, yeah, no, I don't want to be one of those people in our stories.


Apoorva Tadepalli  21:43

Oh, no, no, I think about this a lot. Like, I don't know, when if I'm like, in public, I'm like, drop something and I can't decide whether or how to pick it up. Or like I'm having a conversation that I'm trying to look like, it's, it's a really heated, ugly conversation. I'm trying to make it look pleasant for people who can see me but can't hear me. Like, there's just like, there's just, there's so many ways that you can be like witnessed and completely witnessed in a way where you have just just no control over the over the narrative. 


Zach Fine  22:22

I wonder if we could go back to the to the end of the essay, that moment where she kind of swerves and says, "the lesson to be learned from these two encounters." Yeah. And where that move that she does in some of her pieces, where she, you know, she's giving the kind of portrait, and then she steps back. And it almost feels like, you know, here's the case study. Here's my takeaway. Yeah. But why do you think she does that? Why do you think she makes that move?


Apoorva Tadepalli  22:45

As a as a literary device, it's, it's a little bit more in in your face than the way she ends other essays, like the lesson to be learned here. But I think maybe she felt sort of strongly about like this right of people to sort of engage with each other in this, like, un unsupervised way, she, like, one of our other essays, is just like, about her, like strolling down the street and like a million things happening to her, and how she kind of feels a sense of closeness with people because of like random circumstances that happen on the street. And it's like, it's very fleeting. But I think she felt very defensive of this, of this opportunity that New York offered to have, like, experience like momentary intimacy with people that this was kind of quashed in this story.


Jessica Swoboda  23:55

So you chose to pair your essay, "It's okay to talk to me when I'm trying to read" with Brennan's. And this is very much an essay about Brennan's, and I'm just, what inspired you to write about her work and to write this essay more generally?


Apoorva Tadepalli  24:11

I kind of came to this just as like a personal value kind of, in my adulthood. And like, I consciously like arrived at it and constructed it and like, then just sort of have been really trying to follow it as like a tenant with my life that I cannot object when people basically when people do exactly what happened in this story of horrors, and I kind of had been slowly starting to settle on this idea even before I read this essay, which is why it meant so much to me when I read it, but I think I started feeling like to in order to feel fully like absorbed into my environment. I have to kind of let things happen to me is sort of what I arrived at. And being out and about in the city is not really just about doing things but about things happening to me, which is not necessarily so much what's what's happening to Brennan in her essays, but which is that is what she's sort of watching for. She's like watching for things happening to people, not really people doing things that they can really, you know, they're in control of like, she's not really documenting the cast of characters who have a ton of agency. And I think that that's just a very kind of core part of the urban experience trying to control what what you do and what happens to you is like not it does not really make for a very interesting or rich life in the city.


Zach Fine  25:37

I'm curious how your New York is different from Brennan's? You know, in her essay, she's often going to Longchamps or you can one of the one essay we read it's steak steak to Perry. I think last time I talked to you, you we were talking about you going to, to Nowadays, and reading in the backyard. Yeah. How is how is your New York different than hers?


Apoorva Tadepalli  25:58

Yeah, it's it's funny. I, it's so interesting to think of this like this, like, you know, in her 30s single woman living alone, supporting herself with her like column at The New Yorker, and eating at like, white tablecloth restaurants, like for every meal. I mean, I love it. But it's, it's, it's, it's funny how like, alien her material world is to me, even though, you know, the emotional world is so familiar. But I yeah, I mean, my, I guess my version of what she does is that I go, I sit by myself by myself in in bars and coffee shops a lot. And I work. I read, but very often, I'm like, with my laptop, like at this bar. Yeah, some people do. Sometimes it's a bar where people are sort of somewhere on the spectrum of like, slightly annoyed, because I'm sort of killing the vibe, and just really fascinated and want to know what I'm doing and why I don't have any friends. Like, there's there's always someone somewhere on the spectrum with reactions like that. I mean, it's yeah. It's no,t I think, I don't, we both have in common the fact that like, we don't really frequent places where it's totally taboo to sit by yourself. But I would just get responses more than she's done. It seems like she gets when she's when she writes about herself sitting in restaurants. 


Jessica Swoboda  27:29

Yeah, I've definitely gotten those responses as well, when you're when I've been like, yeah, sitting at a bar, with a beer with my laptop, or even just like a book out. And it's like, it's either like, why are you working so late? Are you by yourself? Or why aren't you saving that for the library and I'm like can you leave me alone? And so that's the point where I'm like, Okay, well, I don't want to be interrupted in this moment. But you uou seem to look at those interruptions more positively than maybe I do. Yeah. 


Apoorva Tadepalli  27:58

Well, I mean, they're, they're really not always pleasant. Um, I went to this like random bar in this neighborhood I didn't know very well. I think it was to Tribeca. And I had to, like, I was like, working on a deadline. I think I put this in a piece, but I was like working on a, on an on an essay. And this guy asked if he could sit with me. And I was like, yeah, sure. Because I'm, I mean, I, like, I don't really, I don't really allow myself to say no, when someone asked me something like that, but then =he, like, wouldn't leave me alone. And I kind of was like, this is a sort of delicate situation like we are. We're here. Like, you're sitting with me, but you kind of also have to get to get it when you're when, when, when you can see me working like, you know, like, it's gonna take, but he got really, really pissed when I said like, Okay, I'm not talking to you anymore. Because he was like, why did you let me sit with you then? And he was really hurt. I mean, yeah, I mean, I finally just had to tell him to get lost. And he called me a bitch. And it's it he it was just very like, he was he was genuinely like, I don't understand why women do this. Like, why did they let why do they like, let you talk to them and then tell you to fuck off. And I kind of was like, Yeah, I don't know, man. It sucks. Like, I'm sorry.


Jessica Swoboda  29:23

But it's also like, dude, read the social situation in which you're in. Yeah, no. Read the moment.


Apoorva Tadepalli  29:28

Yeah, no, it is it is it's I mean, there's always some there's always there always has to be some give and take when you kind of put yourself in like, in like a public place where you can be observed and and like assessed for how open you are. Whether you necessarily agree with that assessment or not. I think we talked about this last time, but  Zach brought up nowadays, like where I go or like I during the summer I used to go to sit in like the hammocks in the backyard. Nowadays is a club, but it's open in the daytime, and it has a bar in the backyard. And I like going there with my, or even at night, like you can go sit in like these outdoor at these picnic benches or in these hammocks and, and you can read and it's kind of a weird place to be by yourself because it's where people are party. But it's funny because in this is this doesn't happen in the space in the part of the space that I am usually in which is in the more chill backyard. But it's funny because in the indoor part of Nowadays, like in the club, there is sort of like a version of the head waiters in these restaurants. Kind of like laying the rules of what sort of contact is allowed in these spaces, because they're like rave spaces. And it's funny to sort of compare that sort of not policing, but management of the social situation, to the management of the social situation that was happening at these restaurants where these waiters were like, You can't talk to people you don't know. Just because whatever, it's inappropriate, it might not be consensual, like it doesn't, doesn't really paint a good look. It's unseemly. Yeah, I mean, that, that sort of that sort of surveillance is still very much with us. And this is not to say that there's no such thing as you know, like, you can definitely cross the line like when I mean, in the essay that I wrote in, like defensive, letting people interrupt me, like I was, I was obviously not really considering more, more actively threatening types of behavior, which are very real as well, that we don't maybe talk about enough. But I was just sort of trying to, I was just trying to explore the the moments where the situation is not is not that clear about whether a certain type of interaction is actively unwanted, or whether it's actively disturbing, or whether it's disruptive to the general experience in a good way or a bad way or or or neither. Like there's many shades in between those two in between the positive and the negative that I think is like endlessly fascinating. 


Zach Fine  32:32

In the past couple of years. I feel like I've seen Maeve Brennan's name pop up in a lot of places I've friends who've been reading her. She shows up in one of Brian Dillon's books. Yeah, I'm curious why you think she has kind of resonated with a lot of people recently? And what about her work comports with the present age?


Apoorva Tadepalli  32:52

Yeah, I think I think her like homelessness is a is a big part of why she why she's so just eternally relatable like this, like her Flatnose identity was so tied up with roving New York and kind of looking for spiritual home and not really never really feeling at home anywhere. I mean, the image of her kind of later in life, you know, only just moving from hotel to hotel, she has an essay or a story where she describes going to stay at a friend's house and having his furniture look at her judging Lee and say, We will never belong to you. Think her or like and she she moved here moved around, but she always sort of kept coming back and like maybe not really finding what she was looking for. She has a really sad quote about, like, how New York never really adopts you, but also never really lets you go Wait, let me drink. New York does nothing for those of us who are inclined to love our except implant in our hearts, a homesickness that baffles us until we go away from her. And then we realize why we are restless at home or away were homesick for New York. It is just it's really sad. I mean, it's really sad. I don't think it's sad enough. I mean, it's beautiful. But it's it's really I think she really got at this, like unknowability of I don't know, the idea of home. That's sort of relatable to a lot of people in New York. I mean, I know that sounds kind of cliche, but I really don't I really think that there's like, an important truth in like the way she and the way she talked about being a traveler and residents and like feeling unrooted.


Jessica Swoboda  34:51

Well, Apoorva, thank you so much for joining us. It was really fun to talk to you about Maeve Brennan and to get a chance to read her work and like I said before we started recording  I really want to read more of her because I really liked what we read for today.


Apoorva Tadepalli  35:04

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.


Jessica Swoboda  35:08

Thanks everyone for joining us for this episode of selected essays. We'd like to thank John Trevaskis for editing the podcast and Meg Duffy of Hand Habits for contributing the original music. As always subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And please subscribe to The Point. There's a discount code for listeners in the show notes. If you have questions, comments or anything else, send an email to We'd love to hear from you. Until next time, listeners.