Big Blue Marble welcomes author Nathaniel Popkin and his fifth book, Everything is Borrowed, a meditation on cruelty and regret, a mesmerizing tour of a city through time, and an evocative portrait of radical Jewish life of another age.
In Everything is Borrowed, acclaimed architect Nicholas Moscowitz lands a major commission, but his drive suddenly falters. The site of the new project awakens guilty memories, and when he digs into the place’s history, he uncovers a 19th-century Moskowitz whose life offers strange parallels to his own. As Nicholas grows obsessed with this shadow man, the dual narratives of Moskowitz and Moscowitz, the city’s past and present, blend in unexpected and poignant ways. Ultimately Nicholas must face certain truths that don’t change over time—and use them to rebuild his own life.
Nathaniel Popkin is the author of five books, including the new novel Everything is Borrowed (New Door Books), called “utterly absorbing” by the writer Robin Black, and the co-editor of Who Will Speak for America?, a literary anthology in response to the American political crisis (Temple University Press). He is the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine, as well as a prolific book critic—and National Book Critics Circle member—focusing on literary fiction and works in translation. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, Rain Taxi, Tablet Magazine, LitHub, The Millions, and the Kenyon Review, among other publications.
As a keen observer of cities and lived places, Popkin has often turned his eye to the layers of history and life in his own city. He’s the founding co-editor of the Hidden City Daily, a web magazine that covers architecture, design, planning, and preservation in Philadelphia, and the co-author of the 2017 work of non-fiction, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple University Press). He’s also the senior writer and story editor of the multi-part documentary film series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment,” for which his work has been recognized with several Emmy awards. He was the guest architecture critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2011-12.