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Broken People novelist Sam Lansky wonders, What if you could fix all your faults in 3 days?

His new book, Broken People, answers that question, complete with a shaman who performs "open-soul surgery."

Sam Lansky
Austin Hargrave

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

What if you could change everything you disliked about yourself in less than a week? That's the question writer Sam Lansky sought to answer in his new book, Broken People: A Novel. The book follows a writer named Sam who seeks out a shaman to perform "open-soul surgery." The procedure can fix everything that's wrong with you in just three days.

On CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Lansky explains the meta nature of writing a character who's based on him but isn't a true representation.

"Sam's insecure. Sam doesn't feel good about himself. Sam's had some failed relationships," said Lansky. "It turns out there is an opportunity for Sam to work with a mysterious, slightly shadowy shaman who claims to have the power to open the door between dimensions and call in ancient spirits to heal the soul and interior conditions of broken people, in what he describes as open-soul surgery."

The book entertainingly explores the idea of coming to terms with your own identity and what it means to think of yourself as needing to be fixed. Broken People is Lansky's follow-up to his 2016 memoir, The Gilded Razor.

During our conversation, we discuss books, what it's like launching a novel during a pandemic, and Lansky's day job as an editor at Time magazine.

Listen to my entire conversation with Lansky on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Broken People is now available in hardcover, paperback and as an audiobook. Also, you can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.