In an interview with Jonathan Lethem, the NBCC’s Jane Ciabaratti offers, inter alia, a sympathetic reading of Chronic City; both have more affection than Kakutani did for what Lethem calls “the claptrap contraption plot I invented.” Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, in a flash of inspiration, assigns the book to the estimable Alexander Theroux – the only non-Latin writer who can credibly use the word “prosopographical” in a review. (But, attn editor: “not a jot” twice? in subsequent paragraphs?) A marathon bi-borough reading of the entire novel continues tonight at McNally Jackson.
Here are a couple Halloween-related essays from the good people at The Literary Hub: This fascinating literary history of witches by Jess Bergman, and this piece by Tobias Carroll on non-fiction writers crossing the supernatural line between fantasy and reality.
After sixteen years of work, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, “the world’s only celebrity translation team,” have finally finished translating all of Tolstoy, ending with last fall’s Hadji Murat. Humanities interviews them, and back in 2009, so did we.
In an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Peter Birkenhead goes back to Nabokov‘s Speak, Memory and considers “the way our memories tell themselves to us: in hints, collisions, and rushes, overlapping, upside down, out of order.” Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg‘s piece on reading Ada, or Ardor.
“Anyway, once his last season was over and NBA hadn’t called, Buck set his sights on coaching. Teaching was the best venue to get there. His wife, a pretty round faced blonde this time, was also a teacher; she taught fourth grade with my wife, Sherri. Working together had formed a friendship and it was this friendship that brought me — a manager at the Kraft Cheese plant — into this conversation with three public school teachers.” What we talk about when we talk about the Common Core.
With the help of Our Final Hour author Martin Rees, Cambridge will soon open a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. The Centre will investigate the threats posed by “artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.” To my ears, this sounds an awful lot like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, which was memorably depicted in John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”