Mavis Gallant, who passed away a year ago this February, published a total of a hundred and sixteen short stories in The New Yorker, which puts her on par with short story factories like John Cheever and John Updike. Yet by the time she died, she was penniless and alone, a fact which worried the few people in Paris who knew her well. In The Walrus, David MacFarlane examines what her writing meant to him. Pair with: Laurel Berger on her own fascination with the author.
Rosecrans Baldwin’s Paris I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down is set in Paris, France. But there are also 25 Parises in the USA. For “Our French Connection,” a series of features for The Morning News, Baldwin hit up four towns called Paris in America and asked locals to opine on the French way of life. You can buy the whole four part series as an epub for $3.
Dispirited by the deluge of advance review copies and publishing mailers (a plight to which I can relate), Ron Charles decided to forego traditional book criticism for the time being and instead to focus on reviewing something more immediately practical: a bookcase.
Are we now living in a golden age of the uncanny? The Millions contributor Porochista Khakpour suspects that we are, and she also suspects that our historical moment, populated as it is with alienating developments and surreal art, is key to understanding the work of Helen Oyeyemi. In the Times, Khakpour reviews Oyeyemi’s new novel. (You could also read both writers’ Year in Reading pieces.)
Why does the mythological connection between suffering and creativity persist? Writers and other artists, AL Kennedy contends, should spend less time intent on suffering and more time intent on making things. See also our own Sonya Chung, on the new writerly happiness.
Haruki Murakami‘s Norwegian Wood has been dropped from one New Jersey school’s syllabus due to “some words and language that seemed to be inappropriate as far as the parents and some of the kids were concerned.” His publisher A. A. Knopf has issued a statement in response.