Fairy tales are a fundamental part of the human experience, an extension of the oral traditions of the earliest storytellers, and part of culture that becomes internalized. In part, the importance of fairy tales is their ability to change with the needs of the society that retells them....more
The NYRB gives a profile of Elena Ferrante and her Naples novels, but the only thing more alluring than the author’s anonymity is the prose itself:
There is a devastating exchange in The Story of a New Name, the second of three—soon to be four—books in Elena Ferrante’s masterful Naples novels, in which Lila, one of the two main characters, runs into her former schoolteacher, Maestra Oliviero, on the street.
First, say hello to our new Saturday media editor, Arielle Bernstein!
Then, in “All The World’s A Stage,” Grant Snider neatly illustrates our inner performer....more
The Alt Lit community brought together a disparate group of writers and poets from the sorts of backgrounds often ignored by mainstream literary fiction, leveraging the Internet and building a loyal and dedicated following. Then this fall, allegations of a history of rape, sexual abuse, and misogyny within the community exploded across the Internet....more
Great news! Someone figured out belly lint.
Maybe there’s a mirror universe out there where time runs backwards. Maybe a lot of things.
Someone stole a bunch of orca teeth.
The sad life of the Mexican mole lizard....more
Friday was one of those days where it felt like way too many threads had come unraveled from the thrift-store sweater of my life and were just tangled in an heap of wet yarn at my feet. One of those dreary grey days when I could have used some advice, and maybe a gentle voice saying, “It’ll be ok, sweet pea.” One of those days when I said, to no one in particular, on Twitter, “Do you ever have one of those days when you wish ‘Dear Sugar’ was still around?”
So imagine my surprise when only a few hours later Cheryl Strayed and (original Sugar) Steve Almond announced they were reviving “Dear Sugar” as a podcast....more
Jon Cotner guides a tour through his community for the project Door to Door: Neighborliness, an exploration of spontaneity and community....more
It’s hard to remember why I was silent. Maybe, like some of the women only now reporting they were raped by Bill Cosby decades ago, I was afraid I wouldn’t be believed....more
We’ve been thoroughly trained to not have empathy for people who’ve been convicted of violent offenses—even though that could mean many things, and I believe all of us have the capacity to do violence. People have also been trained to be fearful.
We couldn’t remember his name.
We couldn’t remember what he looked like.
We couldn’t remember how many there were.
We changed our story as we began to remember more details.
We changed our story into something we could live with.
As Rolling Stone’s article about rape at the University of Virginia continues to be torn apart, Rumpus Essays Editor Emeritus Roxane Gay writes about the problem of expecting survivors of sexual assault to be models of excellence, to get all the facts right, to have fought hard enough, to be, as she terms it, “good victims.”...more
On Wednesday, Joyland published “You Said ‘Always’” an excerpt from Ester Bloom’s novel-in-progress, The Sex Lives of Other People. In the story, which has the momentous feel of the novel’s opening, the narrator, Annie, gets dumped by her boyfriend after a night of sex, turned down by her soon-to-be ex-husband, disappointed by her sister on the phone, and felled by a bottle of wine....more
After hailing Kurt Vonnegut as the “grandfather” on her “literary family tree,” Kathleen Founds describes the experience of reading his short story, “Welcome to the Monkey House,” at BuzzFeed Books. The experience, she writes, was “akin to opening a box in my literary grandfather’s attic and finding something utterly derailing”:
If Vonnegut could see through myths about war, why couldn’t he transcend myths about sexual violence?
Melville House will publish the Senate Torture Report in paperback and e-book on December 30th. The report, released Tuesday, is currently available to read online, but Melville House hopes that publishing it in print form will reach a wider audience. “It’s probably the most important government document of our generation,” says co-publisher Dennis Johnson, “even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy.”...more
I think I was pretty nervous about it as a kid. I think I did [have] that fear of the world coming to an end. I think also it’s kind of how kids exist anyway, you know? You’re always fearing change; you’re always fearing the wrath of a parent; you’re always fearing that something is going to go wrong somewhere.
Along with the other onslaught of reactions to The New Republic’s mass resignation, George Packer offers his own response at the New Yorker, suggesting that the “collapse” (along with the recent Rolling Stone debacle) shows a “crisis” in journalism:
The crisis in journalism is a business crisis, and it’s been going on for twenty years; the outcome remains far from obvious.
The problem with unreliable narrators — and the thing that makes them so delightful to read in fiction — is that by design, you never quite know when they are telling the truth. Which makes it a stunningly poor choice of conventions to employ when writing about sexual assault, a crime that victims are often accused of fabricating, either wholesale or in parts.
Anne Boyer writes about the history of breast cancer for The New Inquiry.
There is no disease more calamitous to women’s intellectual history than breast cancer: this is because there is no disease more distinctly calamitous to women. There is also no disease more voluminous in its agonies, agonies not only about the disease itself, but also about what is not written about it, or whether to write about it, or how.
The aptly dubbed neo-blues duo The Black Keys have made a name for themselves by giving an old and hallowed genre a fresh sheen. Since forming in 2001, the hard-touring band have won a handful of Grammys and a large and fervent fan base....more