Is that a severed prostitute’s nipple in my Mozart? At City Journal, Heather MacDonald mourns the rise of slick, irreverent productions of classical operas in Europe known as Regietheater (director’s theater), a theory of opera direction that holds the director’s take on an opera to be as (0r more) important than the artist’s text.
It’s “Bulgaria Week” at Granta, and you can celebrate by reading two of Ivan Landzhev‘s poems, a short story by Rayko Baychev, a piece by Georgi Tenev, and many more. In case that isn’t enough, however, FiveChapters has posted Miroslav Penkov‘s “Makedonija,” and he has a short essay on the FSG Work in Progress site.
Out this week: Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami; The Purple Swamp Hen by Penelope Lively; Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane; House of Names by Colm Toibin; and Woman No. 17 by our own Edan Lepucki. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“Bigger than the Zuckerberg Bump, bigger even than the Colbert Bump or the Oprah Bump—arguably the most historic bump in English publishing is the Sam Weller Bump.” A look at the surprising and overwhelming success of Dicken‘s first novel, The Pickwick Papers, from The Paris Review.
” I love the shape of words, I love the comet-tail histories of words. I love the roll and crunch of syllables in my mouth.” In Electric Literature, Laura van den Berg interviews R.O. Kwon about religious fanaticism, “unknowing,” and her upcoming debut novel, The Incendiaries. Pair with: Kwon’s 2017 Year in Reading.
In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”