Posts Tagged: The Millions

The Power of the Common Tongue

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For The Millions, Lauren Alwan provides “a brief history” and analysis of colloquial titles, including works from authors like Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Lorrie Moore, and Raymond Carver. In addition, Alwan offers her insights as to what makes colloquial titles so appealing:

There is a certain power in hearing phrases we know and may have used ourselves.

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Writing, Titling, Tricoloning

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Greek for “of equal number of clauses,” isocolon is a rhetorical device that produces a sense of order by balancing parallel elements that are similar in structure and length within a sentence. An isocolon need not have three elements, but the requirement of parallel and balance means that it often takes a tripartite shape, technically called a tricolon.

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Topics Not Discussed Elsewhere

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For The Millions, Sonya Chung sits down with James Hannaham to explore “questions and topics not discussed elsewhere” about his new novel Delicious Foods. In the interview, the two discuss the research that went into writing about drug addiction and farm labor, as well as the way “fringe” cultures are portrayed by the mainstream:

I don’t think of my true black gay freakiness as subversive, any more than the true white straight Republican freakazoids out in the heartland think of themselves as subversive, even as they’re plotting to replace the government with a bunch of gender normative marionettes and privatize motherhood or whatever.

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Places Where Art is Made

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We often look to metaphor for guidance in our constant search for the how and why of writing. In an essay at The Millions comparing writing to running, Nick Ripatrazone explains that training is not just an analogy for his creative process but an essential part of it:

Training sharpens ideas by cutting away the chaff that tends to accumulate during that long time on the trail, where the mind can wander; training blurs those ideas to the surreal places where art is made.

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Monkeying Through Literature

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For The Millions, Daniel O’Malley examines the appearance of monkeys in literature, dividing them into two categories: “the first involves stories that feature monkeys as prominent characters or focal points”; and the second, the one he is “most interested in,” concern “stories that don’t ask so much of their monkeys, stories that could arguably exist without these animals and suffer no serious loss of esteem.”

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Tangled Detectives

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While the novels’ detective protagonists pick their way with varying success through a maze of vexing people and circumstances, readers navigates their own tangled maze of contradictory conventions as the narratives hop from genre to genre, toying with readers’ expectations.

Over at The Millions, Tim Wirkus explores the labyrinth of Tana French’s intricate Dublin Murder Squad series.

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The Post-Apocalyptic Present

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For a smart writer, a ravaged future world also offers something like a perfect literary playground, a cleared field where everything from language to human psychology to social convention can be reconsidered and reframed, critiqued or reimagined.

The Millions reviews Quan Barry’s She Weeps Each Time You’re Born and looks at how it finds the post-apocalyptic future in the present of Vietnam.

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The End Has a Start

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I wasn’t sure that it was elegant, or even grammatically sound, but I did know it was just how my narrator—who spends the novel negotiating issues of privacy and voyeurism—would want the book to end. Grammatical or not, it was my last line, and I was sticking to it.

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Stop Worrying About What Comes Next

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At The MillionsJonathan Russell Clark analyzes several last sentences from well-known novels by Hemingway, Tolstoy, Morrison, and Roth. He pays particular attention to the craftsmanship necessary to write these sentences, and considers how last sentences work to reinforce larger themes within a novel:

For writers, the last sentences aren’t about reader responsibility at all — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stop worrying about what comes next, because nothing does.

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