Fiction Is a Beautiful Weapon in the Class War

A conversation with Sarah Lazare, the co-author of the leftist noir novel, Testimony.

Maximillian Alvarez

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What role does fiction have to play in the class struggle? Should the left be making a stronger case for the political importance of reading literature? In this special Working People episode, which has been months in the making, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez talks with writer and editor Sarah Lazare about her novel Testimony, which she co-authored with her late father, Peter Lazare. Testimony is a leftist crime thriller that takes place in Springfield, Illinois, at the height of the war on terror” panic in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It is also a deeply moving story about trust, commitment to everyday people, and fighting the corrupt, self-serving, and nefarious forces that weaponize fear for their own gain.

As the back cover of the book describes, Testimony isn’t about One Great Man taking on the system, but about one okay, flawed person working with a rag-tag team of other okay, flawed people to combat a system of cynicism and greed much bigger than them.” In this deep and wide-ranging conversation, Alvarez talks with Lazare about the book itself, about her father and the long process of getting the book ready for publication, and about the important role genre fiction has to play in our collective fight for a better world. This episode also features segments of dramatic readings from Testimony performed by Alvarez, Lazare, and friends of the show Adam Johnson (Citations Needed) and Mel Buer (Morning Riot). And a special thanks to Working People producer Jules Taylor for all his hard work editing the episode!

Additional links/​info below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemu​si​carchive​.org): Jules Taylor, Working People Theme Song”

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Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.

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