Posts Tagged: fiction

The Devil Finds Work

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Combining The Exorcist, New Jersey, and James Baldwin, among other things, Nick Ripatrazone reviews William Giraldi’s new novel, Hold the Dark, at The Millions. He contemplates Giraldi’s place in contemporary Catholic literature, using his fiction, alongside Cormac McCarthy’s and Christopher Beha’s, to draw larger claims on religion, the manifestations of Satan, and realism.

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The Theory of Trickle-Up Literacy

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One does not pass from lower to higher. On the contrary one might perfectly well fall from the higher to the lower, or simply read both, as many people eat both good food and junk food, the only problem being that the latter can be addictive; by constantly repeating the same gratifying formula (the litmus test of genre fiction) it stimulates and satisfies a craving for endless sameness, to the point that the reader can well end up spending all the time he has available for reading with exactly the same fare.

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Dr. Critic and Mr. Novelist

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Can a good critic be a good novelist too? Daniel Mendelsohn and Leslie Jamison, who both have written both fiction and non-fiction, answer this question in the weekly Bookend column for the New York Times’s Sunday Review.

Though their ideas differ, the two authors ultimately share the same point of view, summed up in Jamison’s statement that, “We seem to have more patience for the novelist who writes criticism (Henry James, Virginia Woolf) than for the critic who writes novels (Susan Sontag, Lionel Trilling).”

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Fiction or Non fiction: That is the question

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Is it true that nowadays nonfiction is more relevant than fiction?

Pankaj Mishra and Rivka Galchen answer the question and both their answers are dissimilar.

Mishra answers, “Even writers working within the old verities of stability and coherence — we cannot do without some of them — continue to produce persuasive fictions.”

Galchen observes, “Fiction and nonfiction do tend to deploy different methods for getting to the truth.

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Our Future Depends On Reading!

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“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

Neil Gaiman offers strong words at The Guardian on why libraries, reading, and daydreaming is vital to our future.

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“Every Narrative Voice Is a Fiction”

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Some years ago I attended a [Margaret Atwood] reading….She introduced the story she read by saying that it was not autobiographical. Then she read her story about a woman who weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 300 pounds. When she was done, and the Q&A started, the first question was: “Miss Atwood, how did you lose all that weight?”

The Los Angeles Review of Books has a fascinating interview with several writers, including our very own David Biespiel, about the wriggly nature of truth in writing of any genre, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir—anything.

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Weekend Rumpus Roundup

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There are no holiday weekends in August, but there are weekend Rumpus roundups.

If you feel like you need a hundred-year-nap, you might relate to Saturday’s comic by Yumi Sakugawa.

And on Sunday, Rob Roberge wrestled with the way fiction wrestles with the impossible complexity of making moral decisions:

But/and it strikes me that most good writing (and here, I’ll put my vote in for “good” being synonymous with ethically complex…) concerns itself with issues of non-conventional morality.

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