Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
It seems slightly incredible that anyone doesn't know who Stephen King is, but sometimes "it's precisely those whom we imagine we know, in broad stereotypical terms, who require introductions," as Joyce Carol Oates put it. Luckily, The Oyster Review has provided a handy reader's guide to Stephen King, covering his works from Carrie to On Writing.
It's a big week for fans of literary fiction, with new books by a pair of heavyweights: Generosity by Richard Powers and Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. There's also a new (and massive) collection of stories from Lydia Davis. Nick Horby's newest, Juliet, Naked is out. Finally, Bukowski fans may be pleased to find a new book of never-before-collected poems, and R. Crumb fans have no doubt been waiting for his Book of Genesis to hit shelves.
Out this week: The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin; Martutene by Ramón Saizarbitoria; Black Elk by Joe Jackson; Float by Anne Carson; A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy; and The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Over at The Atlantic, Lydia Millet argues for the power and legitimacy of The Lorax's moral message. Millet believes that the heavy-handedness of activist-minded fiction like The Lorax is powerful partly due to "its shamelessness. It pulls no punches; it wears its teacher heart on its sleeve."
"I don’t want to write ‘funny’ books where we all have to laugh our heads of all the time. The humor should come from behind, where we don’t expect it. And the life of a well-known writer is something you can laugh about quite easily." On the occasion of his new novel Dear Mr. M, our own Claire Cameron interviews Herman Koch over at Salon.