Posts Tagged: the new yorker
In support of his new memoir, Little Failure, Gary Shteyngart’s been touring the country. Lucky for us, he’s keeping a journal:
Philip Roth, in a 2000 interview with David Remnick in the pages of this magazine, speaks about the declining number of serious readers in America—he supposes it might even have dwindled to around five thousand.
When quizzed on his characters’ romantic proclivities, Haruki Murakami errs towards empathy:
I occasionally think that, in our heart of hearts, we all may be seeking situations like this one—where our free will doesn’t apply and (almost) everything is determined by someone else, where each day must be lived according to the conditions that someone else has laid down.
Make your way to The New Yorker, where Elif Batuman makes an inquiry into what has become a dominant American disposition: awkwardness. “Awkwardness,” Batuman argues, “is the consciousness of a false position.”
Here is the top-rated definition of awkward in Urban Dictionary: “Passing a homeless person on your way to a Coin Star machine.” In other words, denying that you have any spare change while carrying a whole jar of change, a transparent column of money, right in front of the person.
Many readers, and perhaps some publishers, seem to view endnotes, indexes, and the like as gratuitous dressing—the literary equivalent of purple kale leaves at the edges of the crudités platter. You put them there to round out and dignify the main text, but they’re too raw to digest, and often stiff.
This summer’s debate over young adult literature has raised questions ranging from whether adults should read YA to what even counts as thee genre in the first place. The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum extends these questions to the world of television, where adolescent dramas have had a different impact on the development and survival of the medium:
This debate has focused on books.
It seems impossible to say that someone was quietly assembling a story collection over a decade and a half when they’ve been publishing each of the stories one by one over at a little place called The New Yorker. And yet, that appears to be exactly what Donald Antrim has done....more
A profile of classicist Mary Beard at The New Yorker describes how Beard’s career in Britain brought her into the public eye. Beard gave a well-known lecture titled “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” about how women (in literature and in life) have been silenced throughout history....more
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a creepy new book cover presumably intended to attract older readers, giving another stir to the pot of YA literature that may or may not be OK for adults to read. In the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot wishes people would argue about something more interesting....more
Writing may be hard work, but it isn’t the kind that pays the bills. Tillie Olsen’s seminal Silences wonders just what kind of work writing really is, and who has the privilege to do it:
Though access to education has improved for women and for members of the working class (categories that intersect) the lessons of “Silences” still resonate.
On Tuesday, Tony Earley released a new collection of stories, Mr. Tall. Two decades have passed since Earley’s debut collection, Here We Are in Paradise, and though he has released two novels and a memoir since that time, for short fiction addicts (and lovers of southern writing), the publication of a new book of stories is big news....more
We’ve all read at least one: from “Against YA” to “Against Happiness,” essays that promise to dismiss entire abstract concepts using only rhetoric make for great click-bait. In The New Yorker, Ivan Kreilkamp explains why we keep overstating the case:
“Against [X]” is a symptom of a liberal culture’s longing to escape its own strictures; it’s the desire of thoughtful and nuanced people to shed their inhibitions and issue fearsome dicta.
The news of Michael Brown’s death cannot be ignored. When one of our young people dies from shots fired by a police officer, there will be sadness and confusion. There will inevitably be questions, and questions left unanswered will lead to anger. This is a week, perhaps, when we need fiction and art to help us try to make sense of who we are and where we go from here....more
An early draft of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises focused on Brett Ashley, the woman who serves as a love interest to protagonist Jake Barnes and others. The revised manuscript owes much to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote a letter filled with withering criticism of the earlier version, leading Hemingway to edit out much of the original manuscript....more
When you read Roger Angell, you can (it’s cheesy, but true!) smell clover and hear the crack of a baseball against a baseball bat. Angell is synonymous with baseball writing, and this week, he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame....more
Those little blue padlocks are gone for good. Starting this week, newyorker.com will release all its content to the public, free of charge, until summer’s end. Unfortunately for subscription commitment-phobes, the site will then transition to a metered paywall system (think New York Times) come fall....more
Karl Ove Knausgaard has been making waves with his six-part book My Struggle. The popular series shares a title with another famous book, Mein Kampf, Hitler’s treatise written from his prison cell. The New Yorker explores the reasoning behind Knausgaard’s choice of title:
Knausgaard sometimes speaks in interviews and public appearances of an irony inherent in the name of the book; where Hitler is all ideology and rigid perfection in “Mein Kampf,” Knausgaard’s struggle as a middle-class dad is quotidian, messy, faintly ridiculous.
Njong Emmanuel Tohnain, imprisoned in a Chinese factory that produced shopping bags for Saks Fifth Avenue, wrote notes (some in English and others in French) inside five bags pleading for help from the wealthy consumers on the other side of the world....more
Without boring everybody further, I was thrilled to learn about the ancient evolutionary love story between the Joshua tree and the yucca moth, its exclusive pollinator.
Any rowdies heading to the back room of Brooklyn’s Soda Bar for some mid-week carrying-on last Wednesday night were in for a surprise. In the large, living-room-like space—ringed by a mismatched assortment of couches, cushy chairs, and coffee tables—there was a civilized silence.
The New Yorker has unlocked a selection of Jack Kerouac’s journals that ran in the magazine back in 1998. Beginning with his near-completion of Town and City, and ending days after its publication, the text captures the growing pains of a 25-year-old author:
Got form-rejection card from Macmillan’s.
I wanted that plate. Lifting it up, I held it in my hands. Then, opening up my fingers, I let it drop. It fell with a sharp crash and smashed into three chunks… My mother recognized my handiwork. She cried for hours.
Two things: First, Alice Gregory’s fascinating account of Nellie Bly’s bold, perennially wry career in journalism—an account that wraps up with a call for female writers to not only write about “women’s issues.”
Second, Ann Friedman responds with a thoughtful defense of making a career writing about “women’s issues.”...more
Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.
The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor....more