Posts Tagged: The Millions

“The Labor of Reconsideration”

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For the Millions, Philip Graham considers how childhood traumas can inspire art. In his exploration, Graham looks to works by John Gardner, Rabih Alameddine, and James Baldwin, authors who confront “psychic wounds” and use writing as a method of healing:

We writers are used to looking back, locating in our rough drafts any glimmer that might show the way forward.

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An Experimental Novel from Beyond the Grave

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Often mentioned in the same breath as works of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, Ó Cadhain’s novel is, in some ways, even more radically experimental. For starters, all the characters are dead and speaking from inside their coffins…

The Millions reviews Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s modernist classic ‘Cré na Cille’ (The Dirty Dust), now available in English for the first time.

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Salinger’s “Inscrutable” Text

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For The Millions, Christian Kriticos revisits J.D. Salinger’s story “Hapworth 16, 1924,” and tries to place the story within Salinger’s celebrated career. Although the story receives much criticism for its “strange” meandering style, Kriticos claims this structure “follows the contours of the mind” and that it should be appreciated for diverging from Salinger’s usual style:

Unlike the modernist form of stream-of-consciousness, “Hapworth” is both internal and external at the same time: in addressing his letter to his family, Seymour the narrator is communicating externally; but, at the same time, large portions of the letter seem to be directed at himself.

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Writing for Sport

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What do writing and sports have in common? For The Millions, Tracy O’Neill suggests that both writers and athletes are in the “business” of constructing “narratives,” and likens the experience of writing fiction to the competitiveness of sports:

It’s easy to fantasize about the published book or the championship victory, and it’s easy to believe that whatever handicaps we suffer, whether the blocked mind or the swelling sprain, are too difficult to circumvent.

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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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