Posts Tagged: novels

Frederick Barthelme_author photo_Tommi Ferguson (2)

The Rumpus Interview with Frederick Barthelme

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Frederick Barthelme talks about his new novel, There Must Be Some Mistake, life after teaching, and why food from the Olive Garden is “execrable in the best possible way.”

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The Rumpus Interview with Rebecca Makkai

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Rebecca Makkai talks about ghosts, teaching, chronology in writing, and her new novel, The Hundred-Year House.

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The Rumpus Interview with Richard Ford

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Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Richard Ford discusses his new book, Let Me Be Frank With You, how metaphor shapes our world, and why he doesn’t like the idea he has a battery to recharge.

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Boris Fishman author photo credit Rob Liguori

The Rumpus Interview with Boris Fishman

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Boris Fishman discusses his debut novel, A Replacement Life, Russia, the “immigrant novel,” Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, and Vladimir Putin.

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David Bezmozgis Author Photo_Credit Hannah Young

The Rumpus Interview with David Bezmozgis

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The Rumpus talks to David Bezmozgis about Israel, making fact into fiction, politics in novels, and his new book, The Betrayers.

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Books Grow Longer

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Several recent high profile books, like Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, are hefty tomes. As it turns out, these outliers are part of a larger trend toward longer books. Jeremy Anderberg, writing at BookRiot, researched popular books over the last 110 years and found that page lengths are increasing—prize-winning books over the last forty years are almost twice the length of those from the turn of the century.

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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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The Literary Novel is Dead! Long Live the Literary Novel!

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It happens every now and then that we find someone toasting (or mourning) the death of the novel—this time, it’s Will Self’s turn.

“How do you think it feels to have dedicated your entire adult life to an art form only to see the bloody thing dying before your eyes?” At the Guardian, the British writer answers his own question with the transcript of his Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture.

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The Golden Age of Second Novels

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Despite the challenges writers face with debut novels, the second novel is generally considered the most difficult to write. Some second novels fail to exceed the first, and plenty of authors never even write a second novel. But we might be living in the golden age of sophomore novels, declares Bill Morris over at The Millions. He cites Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Miles, and Charles McNair as examples of successful second novelists, adding:

Of course one could argue that a half dozen books do not constitute a trend or herald a new golden age.

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You’re Jonathan Franzen or You’re Nobody

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“I write because I’ve always wanted to know what bankruptcy feels like.”

John Winters gives his sobering reaction to the hotly debated “MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction,” in his essay, “Why I Write: 2014 Edition.” He details the emerging culture in burgeoning novelists produced by MFA programs, whether NYC is really the best place for a writer to be, and why he keeps writing despite the tough economic climate.

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How to Scientifically Predict a Novel’s Success

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It’s impossible to predict what will make a book sell well, but scientists at Stony Brook University think they might be on the right track.

After conducting statistical analyses of novels from several genres, they were able to predict with 84% accuracy whether a book was “highly successful” based on certain elements of style such as “discourse connectives” and “verbs that describe thought-processing.”

Of course, there’s a pretty large degree of subjectivity inherent in any study of this nature, but it’s still interesting stuff to think about.

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A Helpful Flowchart for All Aspiring Novelists

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“Are you absolutely, positively, and wholeheartedly ready to publish your novel?”

Then you’re gonna need this flowchart, created by Ryan Lewis and Anna Hurley for 826 National and highlighted by our co-owner Isaac Fitzgerald on Buzzfeed.

It’ll help you figure out whether to dedicate your book to “that barista with the really cool forearm tattoo” and whether Kinko’s employees are trustworthy literary critics.

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Percival Everett on Franzen, Sexism and The Great American Novel

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“I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman.  I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom.  Sadly, the culture usually calls these books domestic or family sagas.  Are the novels of Anne Tyler, Marilynne Robinson and Mona Simpson any less white and middle “American” than Franzen”

At VIDA, author Percival Everett explores the big assumptions and unpsoken prejudices behind Great American Novels (like Freedom.) (Via)

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