A Heartbreaking Novel About Mothers, Daughters and Secrets

Elisabeth Egan talks about Esther Freud’s “I Couldn’t Love You More,” and Philip D’Anieri discusses “The Appalachian Trail.”

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The latest pick for Group Text, our monthly column for readers and book clubs, is Esther Freud's “I Couldn’t Love You More,” a novel about three generations of women grappling with secrets, shame and an inexorable bond. Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review and the brains behind Group Text, talks about the novel on this week’s podcast.

“It’s this incredibly powerful story about mothers and daughters,” Egan says, “and also an interesting and really heartbreaking look at what was happening in Ireland at the time that really went on for about 100 years, where the Catholic church ran the — they were like prisons — for women who were in trouble in some way. They forced the women to change their names and to give up their babies.”

Philip D’Anieri visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “The Appalachian Trail: A Biography,” including what drew him to the sprawling subject.

“It’s a place that gives us an opportunity to examine the intersection of the built and the natural,” D’Anieri says. “It’s a place that we think of as natural — it’s the outdoors, you can hike, you can connect with the natural world — but it also had to be built: It needed shelters built, a route had to be determined, the land has to be owned. That tension is something that has always interested me.”

Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Lauren Christensen talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

“Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe

“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura

“Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby

“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].

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