Posts Tagged: new yorker
Recent [WWII] novels by Susanna Moore and Ayelet Waldman achieve their emotional power by focussing upon characters peripheral to the terrible European history that has nonetheless altered their lives. The conflagration must be glimpsed indirectly, following Appelfeld’s admonition that “one does not look directly into the sun.”
Such circumspection has not been Martin Amis’s strategy in approaching the Holocaust.
Two years from now, Wonder Woman will appear in her first live action movie. But can a feminist superhero born in 1941 represent women’s issues in 2016?
Wonder Woman’s debt is to feminism. She’s the missing link in a chain of events that begins with the woman-suffrage campaigns of the nineteen-tens and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.
Although A Sentimental Novel, the final work from Alain Robbe-Grillet, was published in French in 2008, the English translation didn’t follow for almost another four years. Partially, this was due to the book’s content: a lengthy series of Robbe-Grillet’s sadistic fantasies....more
Inconceivably, unexplainably, and, inevitably, thankfully, Bill Cosby’s on tour again. But even off-stage, he’s been there all his life:
In 1976, Cosby earned a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, after writing a dissertation about whether teachers found “Fat Albert” useful.
The literature of Alzheimer’s is a cavern unexplored, but Stefan Merrill Block does his best for the New Yorker:
Nearly every novel I’ve read that attempts to depict the internal experience of Alzheimer’s also attempts to fit the disease’s retrogenic symptoms to one sort of sentimental trope: a reckoning with a repressed or unacknowledged truth that must come before acceptance is possible.
In an era when people live tweet every aspect of their lives, the memoir might seem an antiquated notion. Dani Shapiro disagrees. Status updates are immediate, instant acts of narcissism. Writing a memoir requires introspection and distance. Shapiro explains over at The New Yorker:
It is only with distance that we are able to turn our powers of observation on ourselves, thus fashioning stories in which we are characters.
Leslie Jamison‘s The Empathy Exams coins the phrase “Post-Wounded Woman,” referring to women who “are wary of melodrama so they stay numb or clever instead. Post-wounded women make jokes about being wounded or get impatient with women who hurt too much.” Catherine Lacey‘s debut novel Nobody Is Ever Missing embodies this ideal, writes Daphne Merkin at the New Yorker....more
Artist Cory Arcangel recently curated a collection of tweets containing the phrase “working on my novel” to produce a book of the same name. The New Yorker’s Mark O’Connell wonders why—why he did it, why they tweeted it, and why it matters to us:
…it’s hard to imagine a book providing a more solid pretext for discussions of social media and creativity, or the death of the novel, or any number of other means by which the think-piecing superego might impose itself on the culture.
In the New Yorker, Peter Mendelsund talks about designing book covers for iconic works of literature.
The thing that surprised me was how dogmatic people were. They felt that when they read a book they loved, they saw every aspect of it.
We want the intent. Whatever happened basically to the ethnic man, it happened through trials and tribulations. There’s no intent to make them better. Martin Luther King—and Black Panthers organized to start riots. SNCC—the hate groups, whether it was the Panthers or whether it was the Klansmen, or whether it was they called the self-defense to come down and save our daughters here—the Panthers trying to get aboard.
In the wake of a tweet by Ira Glass that called Shakespeare’s plays unrelatable, Rebecca Mead explores why we care so much about whether we can relate to a play, story or work of art. She admits there’s nothing new about people wanting to see themselves reflected in art, but is still bothered by this recent insistence on relatability:
To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.
Following the publication of David Mitchell’s short story “The Right Sort” on Twitter last week, Ian Crouch considers the possibilities and limitations of the medium for fiction. He admires some of Mitchell’s tweets, wonders if the story isn’t actually better read all at once, and suggests “The Great American Twitter Novel” could potentially exist:
I like to think that there is another kind of fiction to be written, the truest expression of the form, which embraces the quotidian nature of Twitter and its movements in real time.
Let’s dedicate this week to the publications, editors, and benevolent marketing gurus who unleashed a whole bunch of quality FREE short fiction to us. Under the shadow of the FCC’s impending decision as to whether or not net neutrality will continue, these all-you-can-read buffets taste even sweeter....more
The Baffler has a newly designed website, which includes all of its 25 issues, available for free. With so much talk about the New Yorker opening its digital gates this summer, let’s not forget “the Journal that Blunts the Cutting Edge.” If you need some ideas of where to start, Dan Piepenbring has recommendations at the Paris Review....more
Over at the New Yorker, Stephen Burt reviews Ariel Schrag’s Adam, a graphic novel about a straight man who finds himself in the midst of New York’s queer scene. Almost as interesting as the novel’s contents is its publicity: where trans characters were once cast as charity cases, psychopaths, anything but simply human, now Adam is being marketed as mainstream literary fiction:
…it tries not to lose readers unfamiliar with the complicated labels and the sometimes surprising bodies of the gender-variant people Adam meets: he’s learning about them, and from them, and (the novel assumes) so are we.
Find here at the New Yorker a short history of Ted Peckham, an entrepreneur in the first half of the last century known for his male escort service, indicted for the possibilities it opened up.
The escort “would have to remain the perfect cavalier, attractive, entertaining, and ingratiating throughout an entire evening, even if he didn’t like the woman who had hired him.” In other words, his men would have to practice the same tiring arts of flattery and fakery that women had perfected over centuries of boring dates on the arms of wealthy men.
Diligent exercise can be an ordeal; reading David Sedaris wax poetic on diligent exercise isn’t. Over at the New Yorker, the essayist elaborates on his Fitbit, Australian housecleaning, and the problem with keeping a routine:
I look back on the days I averaged only thirty thousand steps, and think, Honestly, how lazy can you get?
Over at the New Yorker, read an excerpt from Mike Sacks’s upcoming Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers. The selection features an interview with George Saunders, in which the writer talks about his upbringing, getting inspiration for characters from working in a restaurant, Mark Twain, comedy, and humor versus satire....more
Suzi LeVine became the first U.S. Ambassador sworn into office on a Kindle. She also took her oath of office not on the Bible, but on the U.S Constitution (open to the Nineteenth Amendment, the amendment granting women the right to vote)....more
Stephen King doesn’t always write horror-less contemporary fiction, but when he does, there’s usually still a twist. Over at the New Yorker, “Harvey’s Dream” has been resurrected from the archives:
Then one day you made the mistake of looking over your shoulder and discovered that the girls were grown and that the man you had struggled to stay married to was sitting with his legs apart, his fish-white legs, staring into a bar of sun, and by God maybe he looked fifty-four in either of his best suits, but sitting there at the kitchen table like that he looked seventy.
Fitzgerald was undone by his screenwriting-is-writing mistake. It’s a notion that has its basis in artistic form.
Over at Granta, Francisco Vilhena interviews Adrian Tomine, the artist and illustrator responsible for bringing us Shortcomings, Summer Blonde, and any number of illustrations for the New Yorker. Tomine riffs on the origins of his stories, landing a job in pre-9/11, and the dynamics of imperfection:
I’ve heard people mention – and sometimes criticize – this unresolved quality in my stories.
As the number of Americans who read books has declined, those who do read have begun wearing t-shirts, carrying tote bags, and sticking magnets on their fridges declaring their love of reading. Some book lovers even perform “book stunts,” reading through the encyclopedia or the dictionary over the course of a year....more
In this, the first week of June, a band of storytellers joined hands and exhaled sweet stories that rolled out like a giant park full of empty hammocks waiting to hold readers through the long summer days…
For example: On Tuesday, poet-storyteller Stuart Dybek released not one, but two short story collections: Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Stories (a compendium of flash fiction) and Paper Lantern: Love Stories (home to nine longer stories)....more