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Posts by: Jake Slovis

The Lexicon of Horror

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At The Millions, Madeleine Monson-Rosen explores how the “lexicon of horror” influences novelist Victor LaValle’s thinking about “narrative and language.” In addition, the article discusses how LaValle’s most recent work, The Ballad of Black Tom, draws from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror of Red Hook” for inspiration.

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Pride, Prejudice, and Reality TV

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For The Millions, David Busis chats with Curtis Sittenfeld about her recent release Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. In the interview, Sittenfeld discusses the challenges that come up when modernizing older works, and how reality television served as a useful tool in her novel. Sittenfeld also shares what she admires most about […]

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Fingerprints On Every Sentence

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For Electric Literature, Selin Gökcesu shares her experience rereading Jane Eyre. Though she had loved the novel in childhood, Gökcesu’s MFA experience and her “selective” adult perspective “eroded” her interest in the novel: At thirty-eight, what I perceived as Brontë’s moral standpoint rubbed me the wrong way. Nowadays, to enjoy a book, not only do […]

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Beyond the Surface

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At the Guardian, Alison Flood wonders whether or not genre writing, particularly romance writing, is primarily “rubbish.” In her investigation, she points out how assumptions are often made about the “surface” elements of genre works and cites literary novels that have used the conventions of genre while maintaining their literariness.

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Welcome to Miami

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For The Daily Beast, Alex Segura analyzes what makes Miami such a great backdrop for mystery novels and stories: It’s easy to be lulled by the Caribbean breeze and beautiful sights, but Miami can be lethal, too, its urban sprawl littered with illicit deals, shocking scandals and seething corruption—a collection of dark tales and only-in-Miami stories […]

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Let’s Have an Existential Crisis… In Space

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For Electric Literature, Anya Groner discusses the role of space tourism in modern science fiction, and explores how the focus of space exploration narratives have shifted from the technological aspects of interplanetary life to the anxieties and psychological challenges faced by space travelers: Practical questions give way to unsettling existentialism and thrilling narrative possibilities. The scale […]

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The “Transmutation” of Objects

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For Open Culture, Ayun Halliday investigates Patti Smith’s relationship to objects and literature, highlighting how the songwriter, artist, and author looks to objects in order to feel “closer” to her favorite writers: She and husband Smith celebrated their first anniversary by collecting stones from the French Guiana penal colony, Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, in an effort to feel closer […]

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Cardboard Cutouts

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For the Guardian, Lynette Lounsbury shares her adolescent experience reading the beat writers and coming to realize that there was little “space” for women in the beatnik world: I read more Kerouac, The Dharma Bums my favourite, and then I read Cassady and Ginsberg and Burroughs. I loved the beat generation and the men in it. […]

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The Great Gorsky

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At the Guardian, Serbian-born novelist Vesna Goldsworthy explains how the “strong plot” and structure of The Great Gatsby influenced her novel about Russian oligarchs: I know—especially for some Americans—I’ve trodden upon holy ground by reworking what is for them the literary equivalent of the stars and stripes. One American friend told me she’d once written out Gatsby in longhand just to […]

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Relying on Memory

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For The Millions, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho interviews novelist Karan Mahajan about the origins of his recently released novel The Association of Small Bombs. The two also discuss how moving from New Delhi to America shaped Mahajan’s writing: It gave me a sense of freedom in my writing. I had a private relationship with India while living in these places. I didn’t talk about it with people. […]

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Books Without Authors

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At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel wonders why readers care so much about Elena Ferrante’s “real” identity, particularly when the anonymous author has made it clear that she believes books “have no need of their authors” after they’ve been penned. Michel writes: Still, the greater question is why anyone cares? The obsession with Ferrante’s identity seems […]

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The Danger in Neat Identifications

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For The Millions, Edan Lepucki interviews novelist Dana Spiotta about her latest release Innocents and Others. In addition to exploring the process that went into writing the novel, the two discuss how to construct narrative by trusting instinct and intuition: It has a lot to do with intuition, and what you find interesting as you are writing, I […]

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Agents and Editors and Readers! Oh My!

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At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel offers a sharp response to a recent Atlantic article that explores how MFA programs have influenced contemporary literature: The MFA is only two to three years out of a writer’s life. Those years don’t outweigh decades of signaling from the publishing industry, major newspapers, and magazines about what type of fiction is popular […]

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Learning by Listening

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The Millions staff writer Nick Ripatrazone examines literature that “embraces the power of radio” and highlights the sounds of language: Radio is elegiac. Radio is the theater of the mind: our eyes are free to look elsewhere, but the sound bounces in our brains. Two mediums that elicit imagination and subjective experience, radios and literature go well […]

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The “Wow” Factor

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For The Millions, editor Gerald Howard reflects on his search for manuscripts that “wow.” In addition, Howard explains how books like Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain helped to cultivate his interest in publishing, and explores how the subject matter of literature has changed over time: We’ve traveled a long, long way from the storied four-decade publishing association of […]

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Books vs. Extremism

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At Electric Literature, Je Banach explores how literary discourse can “break down barriers” in a time of political extremism: Literary discourse, the active process of carefully considering the words and ideas of others and then speaking thoughtfully and critically about them—let us not confuse the words “critical” and “negative” here—provides a model of thoughtful, considerate, and […]

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Shaped by the External World

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Susan Burton profiles Dana Spiotta for the New York Times. Burton praises Spiotta’s work for its “ambitious” subject matter that explores the way we are “shaped” by the material world. In addition, the article discusses how Spiotta’s work has been gendered, and “cited in discussions about whether culture properly values the work of female novelists.”

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Joyce’s Forgotten Rival

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For The Millions, Austin Ratner documents the relationship between the “forgotten” Irish writer James Stephens and the famed James Joyce. Despite starting as literary rivals, Joyce wanted Stephens to finish Finnegans Wake if he ever lost his eyesight. In addition, the essay examines Stephens’s influence on other well-known Irish writers, including Seán O’Casey and Eugene O’Neill.

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A Future of Forbidden Books

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At Electric Literature, Lydia Pine examines dystopian and sci-fi works of fiction that offer a glimpse of what bookshelves and libraries might look like in the future: In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Ayn Rand’s Anthem, books-on-bookshelves is actually a forbidden scenario. Even in the campy sci-fi universe of Star Trek, the twenty-fourth century boasts digital books stored on tablets; […]

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